Posts Tagged ‘ roaming ’

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.

European Commission wants lower SMS tariffs

In February 2008, European Commissioner Viviane Reading urged the mobile operators in Europe to lower their roaming tariffs for international SMS messages. Between October 2007 and March 2008, the average cost of a roaming text message was 0,29 euro.  Since Reading’s call, it has lowered only to 0,28 euro.  Still too much for Reading, so she’s taking the lead herself now. 

She is following the advise of the European Group of Regulators (ERG), which proposes an average price between 0,11 and 0,15 euro per SMS, and will make a proposal in October to submit SMS tariffs to European regulation.  The European Commission will also examine whether measures have to be taken concerning data roaming costs, which are still too high as well. 

The ERG itself hopes regulation won’t be necessary and urges the sector to be ‘attentive’ towards data roaming prices.

Call for cheaper SMS roaming

Viviane Reding, European Commissioner for Information Society and Media, continues attacking the high roaming tariffs. In 2007, she imposed a decrease in roaming fees for international phone calls. Now she also wants to see prices diminishing for international SMS messages and data transfer. Right now, these prices still vary widely because mobile operators charge each other differently to allow the use of their network. These costs are then charged to the end-user. Reding, talking at the 3GSM conference in Barcelona, urges operators to lower these networks charges. She also stimulated the use of fixed fees for data transfer so the Mobile Internet could get the same boost as the fixed Internet did when flat fees (cable, ADSL) were introduced there.

It didn’t take the operators long to come with a reply. Rob Conway, president of GSM Association, which groups more than 700 operators, said he agreed that the Mobile Internet should be stimulated with a more attractive tariff structure, but opposed regulation of mobile data services, saying it would limit innovation: “We don’t believe retail price regulation is beneficial in this context at all. We would resist through reasoned argument”.

Viviane Reding