Legal action against the decision to cap the amount operators can charge
for roaming in Europe has failed.
A number of operators, including Vodafone, O2 and Orange, were involved
in the legal action, which started in the UK and ended up in the
European Court of Justice (ECJ).
The ECJ’s decision not to overturn the cap on roaming rates received a
mixed reaction amongst operators.
An Orange spokeswoman said: ‘We have not yet been formally notified of
this decision but are disappointed with the opinion expressed today by
the European Court of Justice and feel that ?this does not reflect the
best interests of the European market. We will of course continue to
comply with European regulations in force.’
The ECJ said in its judgement that a roaming cap across Europe allows
for a ‘smooth-functioning’ market. It also said that the decision to
impose a limit across Europe was proportionate ‘even if it might have
negative consequences for certain operators.'
The rules on roaming prices were capped in a move by the EU to protect
consumers from unfair pricing. The price of roaming ?in Europe will fall
for the next three years.
A 3 spokesman said: ‘We are delighted that the European Court of Justice
has ruled that the price cap on EU roaming charges should stay in
place. The decision to put the cap in place came after 3 and a range of
consumer groups lobbied the European Commission to bring an end to
excessive roaming pricing in Europe and allow true competition.
‘The court’s ruling not only reinforces the Commission’s original
decision, but ensures consumers can continue to enjoy cheaper calls when
abroad – something that has already saved people many millions of
The original court case was about the legal validity of the EU imposing
a market-wide restriction on roaming charges.
An O2 spokeswoman said: ‘We accept the ECJ ruling. It is important to
note that the mobile operators were not challenging the substance of the
regulation per se, but the basis on which the regulation was justified,
and so in turn ensuring that the EU takes proper consideration for