EU commissioner Viviane Reding’s latest calls for a reduction in data roaming charges were shot down by the GSM association (GSMA).
At an impromptu conference on the first morning of the Mobile World Congress, the European commissioner for information society and media launched another attack on operators’ charges for sending texts and accessing the internet while abroad.
However GSMA chief government and regulatory affairs officer Tom Phillips said it was up to operators to set charges.
He said: ‘This market is evolving rapidly as operators develop new and innovative services and tariff packages, including flat rate pricing packages and bundles.
In such a period of rapid growth and innovation, the GSMA believes that talk of regulation is premature.’
The cost of roamed calls has been cut by as much as 60% since the EU cap was introduced last September, and Reding has been vociferous in her calls for data charges to follow suite.
Ofcom boss Ed Richards stepped in to voice his concern that the EU’s deadline of June 2010 would be too long to wait.
Speaking at Ofcom’s annual plan meeting on 29 January, Richards said: ‘We want to see industry take the initiative on this issue or we may need to see further action at the European level since national regulators are unable to address these issues unilaterally.’
A GSMA statement said: ‘Individual mobile operators are best placed to decide what their tariffs for mobile data services should be.
‘Operators have an interest in setting the price of data services at a level that encourages the use of such services and distinguishes them from the competition.’
GSMA claims that data from the European Regulators Group shows that there was a fall of 10% between the second quarter and third quarter of 2007 and that competitive forces will drive charges down even more.