EU threatens action over data roaming costs

EU threatens action over data roaming costs

The deadline for operators to cut data roaming charges came to an end today with the EU threatening legislation unless prices are dropped.

EU telecoms commissioner Viviane Reding said the price of using data on phones while abroad - including internet access - must be slashed.

The EU said failure by the operators to reach an agreement may see legislation brought in that would force them to change the way they charge customers.

But Reding said she is not expecting the networks to have agreed to sufficiently lower their roaming charges.

An Ofcom spokeswoman said: 'We agree that the cost of downloading data when abroad is too high and is unsustainable.

'There has been come positive movement recently. We are working with the European Commission and our other European counterparts to ensure prices continue to come down for the benefit of customers.'

Last week, the European Commission unveiled plans to lower the cost of mobile phone calls by reducing termination rates, the fees operators charge each other for using their networks.

Operators have until 2011 to abide by the new regulations, which the commission estimated would make calls 70% cheaper.

3 chief executive Kevin Russell today called for the EU to regulate wholesale data roaming charges in order for operators to offer competitive roaming rates to their customers outside of their home networks.

He said: ‘It took the EC to intervene on behalf of the consumer on voice and we think it is going to have to take similar action with data and text too.

‘The market has failed to drive down text and data wholesale rates.  This has effectively prevented competition from working to give consumers a better deal.  Operator responses at the wholesale level have been tiny.

‘Only five out of over 100 networks have taken us up on our current offer to every operator in Europe of a reciprocal wholesale deal of 25 Euro cents.

‘This would give plenty of opportunity to dramatically reduce the data roaming prices all our customers pay. Some operators charge us wholesale prices of as much as £14.40 (€18.20) for a megabyte when we generally charge less than 1p per megabyte for data on our own network in the UK.’

Written by Mobile Today
Mobile Today


Please wait...

Please write code to prove you're human