Posts Tagged ‘ european commission ’

Minister Q: “maximum price for sms not possible”

Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne reacts to a call from consumers organisation Test-Aankoop to put a maximum price on SMS messages.  According to Minister Q, this is not possible, since the European legislation does not allow such a limitation.  But he claims that high competition on the market will automatically lead to lower prices.   This will be stimulated even further when a 4th licence is auctioned later this year.  Telenet and Voo have already shown interest.

European Commission wants clarity on exploding iPhones

Despite all the positive news for Apple, mentioned in the previous two blog items, there’s rising criticism as well. 

New devices are scarce, even for the third generation 3G S.  One would think Apple has learned from the previous iPhone launches and provide more copies of their popular smartphone in the stores.  Unless of course they want to keep the hype up by making the iPhone rare and on demand.  This thesis is heard more and more and has drawn a lot of criticism already.

But worse for Apple’s reputation is the fact that several devices have exploded recently.  In France alone, some 10 iPhones have exploded and sometimes injured their owner.  Last week it was reported that the iPhone of a 15 year old boy from Liège imploded right before he wanted to make a call.  Apple promised him a new iPhone but the boy hasn’t heard anything from Apple since.
According to experts, the problem is caused by the unstable polymere Lithium Ion batteries, although those are used in many mobile phones and other electronic appliances.  
Apple has tried to downplay the issue, but now both the French “Direction Générale de la Concurrence de la Consommation et de la Répression des Fraudes” and the European Commission are investigating this closely.

apple iphone

Test-Aankoop: SMS at maximum 6 eurocent

Last week, we reported how Belgium is one of the most expensive countries if you’re a heavy mobile user.  Consumer organisation Test-Aankoop has come to the same conclusion in a comparative study in Europe.  They want to see a maximum rate for SMS messages of 6 eurocent.

Earlier this summer, the European Commission has already put a limit on roaming tariffs.  A text message sent from a European country to home country Belgium, shouldn’t cost more than 13 eurocent.    A SMS from and to Belgium can cost between 10 and 15 eurocent with the standard rates.
If an international SMS can cost maximum 13 eurocent, then a national SMS shouldn’t cost 15 eurocent, reasons Test-Aankoop.    Taking into account the same margins as for international sms traffic, a national sms should cost maximum 6 eurocent.

The Phone House and start with combined sales

In April, I reported about the decision of Europe that the Belgian ban on combined sales was not conform the European legislation.  Even though the Belgian law has not yet been adapted to officially allow combined sales, the first offerings can now be found on the market.

In a press release, the online store claims to be the first to offer a free mobile phone for everyone who signs for a new mobile subscription.  The Phone House promotes a mini-PC, for which the reduction depends on the amount of additional services that are bought with it, such as insurance, internet subscription or Belgacom TV.


Mobile in Belgium is expensive

Calling with the mobile phone is expensive in Belgium.  According to a study by the European Commission, the prices in our country are a lot higher than the European average.  Although prices have slightly dropped last year, the average GSM user in Belgium pays 26,26 euro per month.  In Europe that average is only at 19,49 euro.

Because of this, the Belgian consumer is less tented to buy a new mobile phone.  With a GSM penetration of 102%, Belgium is way below the European level of 119%.  Because of this, we lag behind for several mobile technologies and services.  The use of Mobile Internet, for example, is at a mere 3,5% in Belgium.

According to Viviane Reding, the solution lies in increasing the competition on the Belgian market.  She believes a 4th mobile operator would be a good idea.  And Telenet has already shown interest in that.


Euro parliament wants 50 cent limit on data roaming

The European Commission and the European Parliament both agree that there should be a limit on tariffs for data roaming.  While the Commission had proposed a limit of 1 euro per megabyte, the Parliament wants to go further and put the limit at 50 eurocent. 

To avoid the so called ‘bill shocks’, the unexpectedly high roaming bills, the Parliament wants to force providers to introduce a price limit.  Users should receive a warning when 80% of this limit is reached, and again when the total limit is reached. 

Other decisions made for mobile included:
– Listening to voicemail across the borders should be free (as of 1 July 2010)
– International SMS sending should cost maximum 11 cent (as of 1 July 2009)
– International calling should be limited to 40 cent per minute (as of July 2010)
– Receiving calls internationally should be limited to 16 cent per minute

These issues still have to be discussed in plenary and agreed upon by ministers from the member states.

New European rules should stimulate Mobile TV

The European Commission has announced new rules for mobile television.  At the moment only Austria, Finland, France & Germany have regulated mobile TV services so far.  The European rules should uniform regulation for all member states.

The providers can chose themselves which channel they want to broadcast on mobile, and network infrastructure can be shared with other parties.   Member states should also have a central point of contact, and all procedures and criteria to obtain a broadcasting licence should be ‘objective, transparant and non-discriminative’.  The rules also allow to take back any mobile TV frequencies, that have not been used for a certain amount of time. 

Viviane Reding, European commissioner for Telecommunications, thinks that the new regulations will stimulate mobile TV services.