Feeds

Operators' EU roaming challenge sent home

Caps on roaming are legal and proportionate. Sorry

The Power of One Infographic

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. ®

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.