Euro Roaming Tariff into law by the weekend?
Ruled not to be uncompetitive
The much-awaited Euro Tariff cap for mobile phone roaming took one more step towards becoming law today, with approval from the EU ministers in charge of competitiveness.
With the measure already formally approved by the member states, approval by the competitive ministers was just a formality; but one that means the measures should pass in to EU law by the weekend.
It's still not going to be implemented by operators in time for the summer, but anyone planning an autumn break around Europe should be able to take advantage of the capped rates, and be better informed about other roaming charges too.®
Abuse of power...
I find it amazing that the operators are able to hoodwink the EU into such pitiful price decreases even now. If you consider the number of operators that have interests in multiple countries it is unbelievable that the only company to have at least shelved charges on their OWN network is the newcomer "3".
I think there is more to the business model here than meets the eye, and I wouldn't be surprised to find out that the administrative costs and clearing houses are a primary reason as to why we keep getting ripped off, especially as the technology involved in making this all work has changed significantly over the past few years.
Lets break everything down:
1) Calls - generally charged wholesale by the circuit at less than a cent per connection (although sometimes limited to an hour per session). Often the operators use Least Cost Routing which results in terrible quality for your overcharged call and they are reaping in even more money by using the nastiest circuits they can get their hands on!
2) SMSs - if they are charged by the circuit on legacy systems then again it's cents per PDU (160 Chars), but even so advances in the infrastructure now mean that SMS's are often routed over IP networks so the cost is ZERO!
3) GPRS/Data - always routed over IP networks so the cost is again ZERO, but the charges are extortionate - I haven't done the maths but I suspect that data is more expensive than the equivalent costs in circuit voice at 14kb/s.
To be fair, no one is doubting that the operators have spent a fortune on the infrastructure and need to reclaim that, but surely that is the point of the home market not the roaming market. No one minds paying a fair price, but the current situation is a flagrant rip off and there is little anyone can do about it except maybe port to "3" if they visit Italy, Australia and Hong Kong amongst others. Also, it's a good proposition to your subscribers when you are also offering free roaming to the opposite side of the planet and not just your back yard!
Wake up Vodafone, O2, T-Mobile and Orange. The glory days are over :-)