EU poised for vote on roaming cap
Could reduce charges by 70 per cent
The EU committee on Industry, Research and Energy is to vote this morning on a proposal to cap the amount network operators can charge for roaming within the EU, potentially reducing the cost of roaming by 70 per cent.
The committee found that international roaming costs between 10 per cent and 20 per cent more than in-country use, but current charges are often 100 per cent more, or worse, justifying the need for legislation.
The idea is to cap the amount operators can charge for wholesale access to their network, and then cap the amount that operators can charge their customers to 130 per cent of that.
This approach has the benefit of simplicity and will automatically be applied to all EU mobile phone users if the vote goes through. The alternative, offering a fixed-price Euro tariff to all customers, has been rejected as it requires customers to opt-in and thus be educated as to its existence.
The vote is very likely to go though. Even the GSMA, which represents the mobile industry, seems to accept that some form of cap is inevitable and has reduced itself to lobbying on the amounts concerned.
Proposals to date have talked about prices as low as €0.15 for receiving a call, and €0.40 for making one, while the GSMA reckons its members can't make money charging less than €0.35 for incoming and €0.65 for outgoing calls.
Some operators have shown themselves more than willing to be flexible on European roaming, especially where the company operates in more than one country. In the UK most operators offer some form of cheap roaming tariff, though this hasn't been enough to deter regulators who are also threatening to legislate on SMS and data charges unless the industry reduces prices markedly in the next few months.
Assuming the committee approves the measure, it will be up to the European Parliament to vote it into legislation in May. The hope is to have the tariff in operation by the summer, though the proposal itself accepts that it will take at least three months, and even up to a year, depending on legal challenges. ®
Cheaper roaming also for IoM (Isle of Man) Global SIM cards?
It's about time that roaming fees come down. "Meteor", a mobile operator here in Ireland charge Euro 1.29 for in-/outbound calls in continental Europe. So, if I call my partner on her mobile while we holiday in, say, France, I pay Euro 1.29 to call her and she pays another Euro 1.29 to receive the call - A total of Euro 2.58 per minute !
When we use our Isle of Man, roaming SIM cards, we can call each other for between 65c - 112c per minute and don't pay for the inbound call. So that's an instant saving of between 57%-75%.
If outbound calls on all tariffs were now to be regulated, my partner with her cheap SIM card (Was only some 9 Euro to buy with 20 Euro credit on it) would benefit from the new regulation the most. Our holiday phone bill would shrink to acceptable levels and we would probably use our mobile phones even more whilst ditching phone cards which we have used so far.
I am wondering though, if Isle of Man operators are also subject to these new regulations on capped prices or if the IoM territory will be treated differently.
Cannot make money from 0.65€?
I remember when I got my first mobile phone 8 years ago, the priciest tariff was 0.57€ per minute. Now I am paying 0.14€ per minute. Of course this takes place in Lithuania, but still, mobile operators survived four-fould decrease in price, and judging from the amount of adverts I see, they are not intending to bankrupt any time soon. So please do not give us crap about how it is not possible to make money.
What a load of rubbish
"... the GSMA reckons its members can't make money charging less than €0.35 for incoming and €0.65 for outgoing calls."
That's total bull manure, and even the people saying it must know that. The ONLY reason it costs any network a lot to handle a roamed call is simply down to the way they are fleecing each other at the moment. There is little justification for inter-country calls to be any different to intra-country calls - they only real difference is what the other network screws you for. As for the overhead of charging for roamed calls, well I simply do not believe that it is significant - if it is expensive then that's simple because they've built crap systems to do it !