informa
/
2 MIN READ
News

EU Moves Toward Dropping Roaming Charges

The legislation calls for mobile phone subscribers throughout Europe to be automatically covered by the new regulations.
Mobile phone roaming charges in Europe, which can run to $16.50 a minute, are likely to drop soon in the wake of a European Parliament committee 45-3 vote to slash both incoming and outgoing roaming fees in European nations.

The EU's Research and Energy Committee Thursday selected 53 cents per minute as the maximum charge for outgoing calls while 20 cents per minute was selected for incoming calls. Previously, the European Commission had suggested a 40 cent cap on calls within a "visited" network (e.g. by a German tourist in Italy calling an Italian number), a 59 cent cap for calls to a Member State outside the visited network (e.g. by a German tourist in Italy calling a Hungarian number) and a 20 cent cap for calls received.

The legislation will be voted on by the entire European Parliament next month, according to media reports.

"For the first time, we will have a functioning, unified roaming market in the EU," said Paul Ruebig, an Austrian member representative who participated in the effort. "We need to cater to the needs of the socially weak in our society."

The legislation calls for mobile phone subscribers throughout Europe to be automatically covered by the new regulations. Value added taxes would likely be added to the roaming charges.

Mobile phone operators have complained that they need more time to implement the new measures. They also maintain their operations could be disrupted by a mandate that they comply with the regulations.

For example, the new pricing agreement would require European carriers doing business in the Member States to notify customers about the new pricing information on per-minute retail charges, in an SMS sent to the customer whenever she or he enters another Member State.

EU legislators have said they would like so see roaming prices dropped soon in time for summer vacation travel.

As of Friday, one Euro equaled USD $1.35.

Editor's Choice
Samuel Greengard, Contributing Reporter
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek
Carrie Pallardy, Contributing Reporter
John Edwards, Technology Journalist & Author
Astrid Gobardhan, Data Privacy Officer, VFS Global
Sara Peters, Editor-in-Chief, InformationWeek / Network Computing