EU: we're still planning to kill roaming fees

29 Aug 2013
Roaming

Telecoms chief still hopes to cut roaming data and call charges by next summer

The European Commission has hit back against claims of backtracking on plans to scrap roaming fees by next summer.

A Reuters report suggested telecoms chief Neelie Kroes had performed a U-turn on planned proposals to cut charges for using voice and data services while travelling in the EU. The agency claimed it had seen draft European Commission documents which omitted the plans, suggesting they had been quietly dropped.

However, a spokesperson for Kroes told PC Pro that the proposals were going ahead and would be outlined soon.

"It's not accurate - we are still planning to end roaming," the source confirmed, adding that European Commission president José Manuel Barroso would detail the proposals more fully on 11 September.

It appears some changes may have been made to Kroes' original proposals, however. Earlier reports had suggested that Kroes would propose a 70% reduction in roaming voice calls to three cents a minute, and a 90% drop in roaming data charges to 1.5 cents a megabyte. The spokesperson said these figures were "not accurate", but was unable to go into more detail.

Last month, Orange's deputy chief executive, Pierre Louette described the plans to end roaming fees as a "headline grabbing move", according to the Financial Times (subscription required), while other operators have expressed concern that the subsequent loss of revenue would stifle growth.

It's thought that the heads of Orange, Telecom Italia and Telefonica, as well as a senior figure at Deutsche Telekom, have also spoken directly with Kroes to voice opposition to the plans. The operators have not responded to a request for comment.

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