Mobile roaming: Fair charges and more competition / 28-02-2012
Caps for mobile phone charges abroad (roaming) will be tightened up as from July. The Industry Committee of the European Parliament adopted new price caps for phone calls, text messages and - for the first time - data downloads. "We need to bring about more competition in the market to put an end to the ripping-off of consumers. The current charges, for mobile downloads in particular, do in no way reflect the real costs", said European Parliament Rapporteur Angelika Niebler, EPP Group MEP.
MEPs want to limit the charges for mobile roaming downloads to 50 Cents per megabyte as from July. As from July 2014 the limit ought to decrease to 20 Cents. The European Commission had proposed 50 Cents in the first place and would accept 90 Cents as from July this year. MEPs also call for text messages to cost a maximum of eight Cents each as from July and five Cents from July 2014. In addition, the charges for calls will be capped. Received calls should be limited to five Cents per minute and outgoing calls to 15 Cents from July 2014. "The charges should at last come in line with the real technical effort required", said Niebler. MEPs call on providers to also offer the same rates for roaming in third countries.
The Industry Committee of the European Parliament also wants fair access to networks for smaller providers (open access). MEPs also call for the possibility of using local providers on the ground (local break-out). "It should be possible to use different providers for calls and data roaming, for example. Such structural measures can finally create healthier competition", according to the EPP Group MEP.
Now the Parliament and Council have to find an agreement over the future EU regulation. "I count on a deal being done by Easter. Today's vote is an excellent starting point for more transparency, competition and lower charges in the mobile roaming market", the European Parliament Rapporteur noted.
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