Telecommunications: EU to end “rip-off” roaming charges
29 March 2012
Financial Times, The Guardian
“EU agrees mobile roaming price cuts,” headlines the Financial Times, as the union agrees to cut the cost of using mobile phones when travelling within Europe.
The charge for using data services such as email and web browsing will be capped at 70 cents a megabyte, a fraction of the €2-€5 charged by most operators across the EU. The cap will fall to just 20 cents by 2014, all but eliminating a lucrative sideline for telecoms operators. Many of their share prices dropped after the agreement.
The regulation was first proposed by the European Commission last summer to fight what it called “roaming rip-off”, with operators charging more than triple the normal rate for calls made while in another EU country. The European Parliament approved the move on March 27 and national governments the next day, with a final green light expected by June.
The move is sure to take the “summer bite out of mobile phone” charges racheted up over the holiday period, the Guardian notes, adding that this is –
… the culmination of a lengthy struggle between Brussels and mobile carriers, who say they will have to raise prices for other services. Cross-border charges are reckoned to generate up to 5% of revenues.