EU Suggests New Price Cuts Ahead Of Roaming Abolition In 2017

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The European Commission wants to slash prices yet again to prepare for next year’s roaming charges scrap

The European Union has today proposed slashing the costs of wholesale roaming charges that mobile operators charge each other across Europe to prepare for the end of roaming charges for consumers, currently set to come into force in June 2017.

The European Commission’s decision to end roaming charges for consumers relies upon the prices that mobile operators agree to pay one another across the 28 states in the EU being low enough for operators not to run at a loss.

Wholesale prices are currently set at €0.05 (4p) per minute for calls, €0.02 (2p) per text and €0.05 (4p) per MB of data on top of domestic charges or allowances.

The European Commission wants to lower these, down to €0.01 cent per SMS, €0.04 cents per minute for calls, and €0.85 cents per megabyte of data.


Vice-President for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip said: “In a year from now, we’ll say goodbye to roaming charges.”

“Our ambition is to abolish unjustified geo-blocking on the same occasion. We also want the cross-border portability of content to be a reality in 2017 so that Europeans can travel with their films, music, sports broadcasts, e-books across the EU. This will clearly be a triple win for European consumers,” he added.

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mobile-phoneBut the plan could run into opposition, especially from operators in countries that witness high tourist traffic and already cheap domestic prices such as Spain and France.

Economy and Society Günther H. Oettinger added: “We want to make sure that the end of roaming charges works properly for consumers and market players. This is why we come today with a proposal on wholesale roaming markets. We count now on the European Parliament and the Council to keep the pace and adopt it swiftly”.

The move should save companies and business travellers money when using their mobile phones aboard, and strengthen the European Commission (EC)’s vision of a single digital market that will encourage economic growth and the development of cross border applications such as connected cars.

“We’re in the home stretch now before the end of roaming charges in 2017,” said Ansip in April. “This is not only about Europeans saving money, this is about bringing down barriers in the Digital Single Market.”

A recent study by uSwitch found one quarter of Brits already think roaming has been abolished within the EU and 62 percent fear using their phone abroad because of bill shock concerns. A third don’t use their phone at all. Many travellers turn off roaming when they arrive in a foreign country or use free Wi-Fi and local SIMs, meaning operators earn no revenue at all.

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