Commissioner wants to abolish roaming charges

6 Jul 2011

The European Commission has said it wants to completely abolish so-called “roaming charges” across the mobile phone industry by 2015.

Proposing a complete shakeup of the current regulation, Commissioner in charge of the Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes said today phone companies are still making “outrageous profit margins” on roaming services.

Up to now, the caps on roaming prices have been set yearly during the month of July. Today’s proposals would see a longer-term solution.

Under the proposed new law, from July 2014, customers could sign up for a cheaper mobile roaming contract, separate from their contract for national mobile services, while using the same phone number.

The proposal would also give mobile operators the right to use other operators’ networks in other Member States at regulated wholesale prices, and so encourage more operators to compete on the roaming market.

The plans come as the Commission wants roaming charges to match national ones – therefore breaking down another barrier between Member States.

Kroes added that these “invisible internal borders” were supposed to have disappeared.

“This proposal tackles the root cause of the problem – the lack of competition on roaming markets – by giving customers more choice and by giving alternative operators easier access to the roaming market,” said Kroes.

The plan will now go the European Parliament for consideration.

Photo: Neelie Kroes, vice-president of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda

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