Feeds

Operators' EU roaming challenge sent home

Caps on roaming are legal and proportionate. Sorry

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

A legal challenge to the EU's capping of roaming rates, brought by the UK's four biggest networks, has failed at the European Court of Justice.

Strictly speaking the case was against the UK's implementation of the rules, and thus was launched at the High Court of England and Wales in 2007 when the new rules were passed by the EU. But the High Court passed the case on to decide if the EU had the legal right to impose such caps, and if they were proportionate to the problem. Turns out that it does, and it was.

The networks argued that the legal basis for the caps, that they would improve the functioning EU market as allowed by Article 95 of the EU Treaty, wasn't applicable, and that even if it was there was no reason to set retail rates when wholesale rates could have been capped instead. But the court ruled that the EU did have the right, and that retail caps were an appropriate measure.

The EU could have imposed a wholesale cap: limiting the amount that operators were allowed to charge each other for roaming, then relying on that to reduce retail prices. It might have worked too, but it would not have provided the PR coup for which then-Information-Commissionaire Viviane Reding was looking - reinventing the EU as fighting for the rights of consumers against the spectre of profiteering multinationals.

Key to the EU's victory were the repeated calls made by Ms Reding and asking the industry to cut prices voluntarily before she felt obliged to impose caps. Those caps arrived in 2007 with an implementation schedule that requires calls made during roaming (within Europe) to cost only €0.39 a minute by 1 July 2010, with received calls costing only €0.15 and an EU study of how effective the caps have been so far due at the end of June.

When the caps were introduced there was much talk of similar limits being imposed on data roaming, but other than requiring additional authorisation when the data bill hits €50 that hasn't happened. The EU got occupied with the international financial collapse, and Viviane Reding moved on, but data caps will no doubt rise again next time the EU is looking for some good PR. ®

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
Google Nest, ARM, Samsung pull out Thread to strangle ZigBee
But there's a flaw in Google's IP-based IoT system
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
US freemium mobile network eyes up Europe
FreedomPop touts 'free' calls, texts and data
'Two-speed internet' storm turns FCC.gov into zero-speed website
Deadline for comments on net neutrality shake-up extended to Friday
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
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.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.