The cost of using a phone abroad is 'unacceptably high' and is stopping consumers from using smartphone services overseas, a House of Lords committee has said.
The committee has written to Communications Minister Ed Vaizey to urge the European Commission to keep roaming price caps in order to reduce prices. The European Parliament is due to vote on proposed changes to using mobiles abroad next month. Among the proposals is a cap on data roaming charges, reducing the price of calls and texts abroad and allowing consumers to buy services from other operators while overseas.
In the letter, Lord Roper, chair of the EU committee, said roaming price caps are still needed to ensure a better deal for consumers. He said: 'However, it is important...to strike the correct balance between wholesale and retail price caps. In the final months of negotiations on this proposal, we urge you to press for price caps which push costs down, whilst maintaining an adequate margin between wholesale and retail prices to allow room for innovation and competition among mobile operators.'
Lord Roper said 'unacceptably high' rates were hindering smartphone use while abroad. However, he added that the long-term goal for the European Parliament should be to reduce regulation on price caps and introduce more sustainable solutions.
The committee chair said: 'Overall, the approach of the proposal is right: continued intervention through price caps in the short-term, and the stimulation of a truly competitive marketplace that can operate without intrusive regulation in the longer-term. This can ensure that the consumer is always at the heart of developments.'
Editor: Graeme Neill