Feeds

Reding sets 1 July deadline for data roaming charge cuts

Operators say operators should set prices

The Power of One Infographic

Mobile World Congress EU telecoms commissioner Viviane Reding has warned mobile executives in Barcelona today that she will impose caps on roaming charges for data and text messaging if they do not cut prices by 1 July.

The commissioner, encouraged by her success in slashing voice roaming charges, is at Mobile World Congress to rattle the sabre.

She said: "I have no appetite at all for regulating again. But to avoid regulation, the industry will have to show its responsiveness to consumer concerns by credible reductions of the cost for data roaming both at the wholesale and at the retail level."

The EU says reports of citizens receiving massive data and SMS bills after visits to other member states are unnacceptable and contrary to its single market principles.

Reding's similar attack on voice charges led to new pan-EU regulations coming into force on 30 June last year, despite strong lobbying from operators and governments on behalf of operators.

Mobile firms have now been set a specific target on roaming text messages. Reding said any more than three cents on top of the domestic cost of a text is intolerable.

On data the targets leave more room for manoeuvre because the market for mobile internet services is less developed. Mobile bosses have been told to make their roaming charge structures more transparent, offer at least one package designed for roaming users and cooperate to reduce wholesale charges as a priority.

If, on 1 July Reding's office judges they have met these targets, the industry could avoid more regulations.

Last week, a group of five European operators agreed to a pre-emptive cut in data charges. Reding said she expects other operators to follow suit.

Today, however, the GSM Association claimed that the deadline threatened to "stifle innovation" and "stunt the development of new data offerings for roaming". It said individual operators should be allowed to set their own prices in response to competition.

In her announcement, Reding was critical of national regulators for failing to support her initiative on voice roaming. She is pushing plans for a permanent EU-wide telecoms regulator, a move opposed in the UK by Ofcom.

Ofcom boss Ed Richards seems to have realised that her success on voice charges has strengthened Reding's case for a European super-regulator. At the end of January he sought to take the initative on data and SMS roaming. He may have trouble convincing his colleagues in the European Regulators Group (ERG, the bureaucracy of national regulators) to act swiftly, however.

Reding said: "It is unfortunate that apparently the many meetings that national telecoms regulators have throughout the year in the ERG, for which national taxpayers pay quite a lot of money, do not yield better results on an important cross-border issue such as roaming." ®

The Power of One Infographic

More from The Register

next story
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
Microsoft unsheathes cheap Android-killer: Behold, the Lumia 530
Say it with us: I'm King of the Landfill-ill-ill-ill
All those new '5G standards'? Here's the science they rely on
Radio professor tells us how wireless will get faster in the real world
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
Oh girl, you jus' didn't: Level 3 slaps Verizon in Netflix throttle blowup
Just hook us up to more 10Gbps ports, backbone biz yells in tit-for-tat spat
GoTenna: How does this 'magic' work?
An ideal product if you believe the Earth is flat
Telstra to KILL 2G network by end of 2016
GSM now stands for Grave-Seeking-Mobile network
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.