EU roaming costs to fall substantially but local internet access when abroad still limited / 29-03-2012
Consulting your emails whilst on holiday abroad in the EU will no longer cost a fortune. The tariffs for mobile roaming within the European Union will substantially decrease in the next two years. Liberals and Democrats in the European Parliament are generally satisfied with this and other results of yesterday's trilogue negotiations on the future of roaming for both the wholesale and the retail sector.
Probably the most significant step forward for consumers in this Roaming 3 regulation is the low cap on the roaming costs for data - from no caps on the costs per Megabyte so far to 0.70 EUR on 1 July this year and 0.20 EUR in 2014. Another important agreement has been reached on the prohibition for operators to prevent direct data access on visited networks, the so called "Local Break-Out".
Adina VALEAN (Romania, PNL), who is the ALDE rapporteur on Roaming 3 and who was the EP rapporteur on Roaming 2, said after the final negotiation: "I welcome the agreement as we will continue to drag the roaming price down. By introducing the structural measures allowing for decoupling the roaming services from the domestic services, competition in roaming prices should increase. This will hopefully provide customers with better services at a lower price, but without price intervention and in a market-based approach."
Nevertheless, Ms. Valean's wish for a clearer language on the "Local Break-Out" hasn't been entirely taken on board: "I regret that the Parliament was not able to ensure a clear obligation for operators to allow local use of data services when abroad as I proposed and as adopted by the ITRE committee. This could have drastically shifted the market and users' habits providing cheap prices for the increasing number of heavy data users. The Commission still has the opportunity to push for this through its implementing acts"
The agreement found in the trilogue between European Commission, Council and European Parliament has been confirmed this morning by the Council's Committee of the permanent representatives (COREPER) and is expected to be adopted officially by the EP Plenary in May.
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