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GSMA to lobby Parliament on roaming

The GSM Association (GSMA), unhappy at yesterday’s formalised proposals to cut roaming charges, said Thursday that it will begin lobbying the European Parliament in the autumn, following the summer recess.

The Association’s stated position is that it doesn’t want regulation, arguing that its members are able to regulate themselves. To that end, it intends to take its argument to “as many European parliamentarians as possible” in an effort to scupper yesterday’s proposals.

A spokesman for the GSMA told telecoms.com “we’re not happy about several of the proposals… The issue of retail [costs] is the most draconian step and we see it as an extreme measure.”

The spokesman explained that the proposals are pan-European and do not take into account where an operator may be in Europe, or what its customer base is like. “That has far reaching implications for many operators and may hurt them.”

Reding’s team will be used to high level petitioning. Earlier this month, the UK’s European commissioner for trade, Peter Mandelson, along with the vice-president of the European Commission in charge of enterprise and industry, Gunter Verheugen, challenged Reding’s proposals vowing to have them rewritten. While some changes were made, the proposal remains much as it was when the debacle began.

Mark Newman, chief research officer at Telecoms.com’s parent, Informa Telecoms and Media, believes any attempts by the GSMA to engender change are doomed at this late stage. “I don’t think the GSMA has that much political clout… It’s up to the operators themselves now and if they are looking for changes to be made, they should get together and present their argument [without the GSMA].

A spokesman for Vodafone would not be drawn on how successful a GSMA-led petition would be but insisted that Vodafone was not about to give up the fight. “We are certainly not about to relax our efforts to have this changed,” the spokesman said.

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