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Reding puts roaming cuts on ministers' conference table

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CeBIT CebIT is set for an even more chaotic Friday than usual this week as EU telecoms ministers descend on the show to discuss cuts in mobile phone roaming fees.

Many consumers see the current tariffs as excessive, and it looks like both voice and data charges are in the minister's cross hairs. The EC has already railed against the charges, following its own inquiry.

EC commissioner for media and information society Viviane Reding dropped heavy hints earlier today that the ministers had a cut in mind. She earlier paid compliments to her hosts, by saying she expected Germany's telecoms minister to persuade the group of the need for a deal. Germany currently holds the European presidency.

Perhaps just asking the ministers to check their own phone bills, and those of the entourages that'll no doubt be trailing in their wake, would be enough to convince them of the need for reform.

Clearly the commission thinks the mobile companies can't be trusted to implement fair a system of roaming charges. This is in marked contrast to the RFID industry, which Reding earlier today said was just the right bunch to sort out how to address data privacy concerns associated with the technology.

Later on, Reding prompted a major scrum on the steps of the press centre, as journalists scrambled to get more information on the commission's plans – before they scrambled back to the press room to transmit their stories on the CeBIT network. Well, who wants to pay the data charges to send stories back via a mobile phone. ®

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