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EU: we're still planning to kill roaming fees

Roaming

By Shona Ghosh

Posted on 29 Aug 2013 at 15:45

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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User comments

Roaming price cut plans squashed by big business?

I imagine Neelie's proposals didn't go down too well with the big Telcos, and that they've been lobbying hard against them. They're big employers in Germany, for instance, and there's an election coming up there soon...

By stewie on 29 Aug 2013

Roaming price cut plans squashed by big business?

I imagine Neelie's proposals didn't go down too well with the big Telcos, and that they've been lobbying hard against them. They're big employers in Germany, for instance, and there's an election coming up there soon...

By stewie on 29 Aug 2013

LJ

There should definitely be no roaming fees. As usual large corporations say what is allowed as one Europe and what is not.

By eLJay on 29 Aug 2013

How can you roam in a "Single" market?

By definition, a single market is one market, ergo no internal borders. So how does the concept of "roaming" even apply? If there is roaming then it isn't a single market, it is several different markets.

As to: "She also wanted to dock roaming data charges 90% to 15 cents a minute"; since when was data charged by the minute?

By martindaler on 29 Aug 2013

Don't give up!

Come on European Commission - you can get this through - don't give up!

By randomtoast on 29 Aug 2013

Can we roam in our own country

With large areas still not covered by 2G for most users, isn't it about time we were allowed to use an alternate network when our own can't be bothered to provide coverage.

Getting the train from Bedford to London yesterday I had no 2G coverage for about a third of the journey. I find it hard to accept there are still areas of London where I cannot make a phone call.

By tirons1 on 29 Aug 2013

Then maybe I can get a EU mobile and it'll roam on all the networks here.

Bet the data will still be extortionate though!

By amanu2 on 30 Aug 2013

@tirons1

Right on - networks should simply be required to share cells with the network that actually carries the traffic taking the revenue - with no extra charge to the customer.

I was shocked to find recently a huge hole in O2 coverage in Kent - including Hever Castle and Churchill's house at Chartwell.

This does not help with EU roaming however - the problem is (as usual) our beloved governments - the licenses are (lucratively) sold on a per-country basis, so it is unreasonable to expect licensees to provide pan-European coverage at no extra cost. Does not mean they should be allowed to gouge us though!

By JohnAHind on 30 Aug 2013

Consolidation

It will happen, no doubt this is partly what Vodafone are considering with their recent US offloadings...

EU wide white label service for all in Voice and Data will be the new must have package. The actual ownership of each Tower should become less important going forward as the Network start to be viewed more like 'National Grid' or 'Railtrack.'

By Gindylow on 3 Sep 2013

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