EC calls for end to roaming charges

Following in the footsteps of her predecessor, Viviane Reding, European Commissioner for the Digital Agenda, Neelie Kroes, on Thursday blasted roaming costs as an “outdated concept”.

With that view in mind, Kroes then proposed that the creation of a single market within the 27-member bloc would require the gap between roaming and domestic prices to approach zero.

“A true digital market is a market where effective competition ensures that citizens, customers and businesses do not experience substantially different services or costs when they pass a border,” Kroes said.

Informa Telecoms & Media believes Europe is an important market for roaming services, with the largest number of roaming users worldwide. This region needs to connect a significant number of different countries and cultures, which makes it a leader in terms of innovative business models, regulation and technology.

Informa found that Western Europe will remain the largest roaming market delivering approximately 41 per cent of roaming revenues by 2015, followed by Asia Pacific with approximately 18 per cent and North America with approximately 10 per cent.

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  1. Avatar Alastair Hanlon, Convergys 27/09/2010 @ 2:28 pm

    Each country within Europe has sold its own wireless spectrum, applies its own taxes and regulations. Why should mobile companies be expected to operate as a 26 state block when the countries themselves still operate independently? It’s probably more productive to campaign for a reduction in roaming fees or at least more real time customer information rather than an outright ban.

  2. Avatar sjjh 27/09/2010 @ 4:35 pm

    Surely roaming charges to the end user arise from the interconnect charges applied by the roamed network? The physical network remains the most expensive, and valuable, asset of any operator. How could they not charge another operator for using it?

  3. Avatar Patrick B 27/09/2010 @ 9:55 pm

    This is going to be painful for service providers whichever way you look at it. Most European networks are sub-scale and the level of competition is intense.

    If roaming charges are abolished and spectrum trading is accepted in all member states it will accelerate the pace of network consolidation hopefully leading to a duopoly or at worst a tripoloy of next-gen network providers across Europe. This is a good thing really, with a sustainable business model and beneficial pricing for consumers.

    It is dependent upon large-scale wholesale network service billing, of which there is currently only one credible solution in the BSS space – Convergys. This is an untapped part of the BSS market. Perhaps it is worth taking a closer look?

  4. Avatar Ikhtiar 28/09/2010 @ 6:17 am

    The question needs to ask here is, have we created a unified market to ask for uniform charges across the market?

    When a roamer latches onto my network, the home operator is not paying a dime for the Spectrum which the visited network already paid.

    “The creation of a single market within the 27-member bloc would require” etc etc. I like to add the most important requirement here –

    Operators build their own network in any country without paying extra fee for spectrum – they have already paid in their home country. You can’t charge for spectrum separately for all 27 countries and ask to provide service at uniform manner across them. I believe, if operators are given the opportunity to build and operate networks across the 27 countries without paying for the same spectrum 27 times, they will happily reduce/remove roaming charges.

    Are you ready to waive the spectrum charges or better yet, give back that in return for removal of roaming charges?

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