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Liberal MEPs push for lower mobile phone roaming tariffs

February 29, 2012 5:18 PM

On 28th February MEPs voted to extend EU rules aimed at reducing the cost of using mobile and smart phones whilst abroad and approve new structural measures to inject more competition into the roaming market. Since 2007, EU roaming regulations have gradually introduced price caps on cross-border mobile phone calls and text messages and established guarantees against 'bill shocks'.

The European Parliament's Industry Committee however voted to replace current rules, which expire in June 2012, with even lower price caps to move further towards a levelling of domestic and cross-border mobile phone charges. The new regulation will also, for the first time, impose caps on 'data roaming' - fees which incur when customers surf the internet for music, film or photographic files for instance which are often several megabytes in size. In addition to the price caps, the new regulation would introduce a set of structural reforms aimed at attracting new operators to the market who may rent rather than own the networks and can contribute to lowering prices by stimulating competition. valean adina ioana ro (2).jpg

Adina Valean (PNL, Romania), ALDE spokesperson on roaming issues, commented:
"As a liberal I welcome the solution of structural measures as a mean to end price regulations which will make it possible for the consumer to have two contracts, one for home services and the other for roaming, each with different operators. This would give access to the local market to other operators - even to virtual mobile networks. More options mean better quality and lower prices and mobile operators will be required to provide consumers with the possibility to access local data services similar to using a Wifi hotspot, at local price."

Notes
Under the current rules in force until June 2012, the maximum roaming charge for making a call is 35 cents and for receiving a call is 11 cents per minute. Sending a text message cross-border is capped at 11 cents while receiving a text is free. The European Parliament's committee today has proposed the following rate decreases which will have to be negotiated with Council before final agreement:

• Calls made (received) should fall to EUR 0,25 (EUR 0,08 ) cents per minute from 1st July 2012 and to EUR 0,15 cents (0,05 cents) by July 2014.

•The Euro SMS tariff (for messages sent) should be reduced to EUR 0,08 cents from 1 July 2012 and EUR 0,05 cents from 1st July 2014.

• Data roaming to be capped at EUR 0,50 cents per megabyte, and EUR 0,20 cents by 2014.

Further information is available on European Commission website:
http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/activities/roaming/tariffs/index_en.htm