Finns frustrated with roaming fees fiddle

Finland’s top three operators have put forward the case against slashing roaming fees in the country, asking regulators for exception from the rules which are set to kick in over the next few weeks.

Telia, DNA and Elisa have all sent requests to Finnish regulator FICORA asking they be excused from the cuts in roaming charges as it would result in the telcos losing revenue. As a result, Finnish consumers who don’t use their devices outside the domestic boarders could find their bills actually going up.

It seems the Finns don’t quite get the idea of a single market, where everyone gets along and plays by the same rules. According to news site YLE, Finland lobbied strongly for the ability for operators to opt out of the roaming charge abolishment.

The new rules will come into play on 15 June 2017, which sees the end of a decade of back-and-fore’s as the initial idea to end this pain point for consumers was initially raised in 2006. There are complications that accompany the plans however.

Certain regions in Spain for example see mammoth increases in traffic during the holiday season, but relatively quiet otherwise. Without increased charges on the data usage, it would be difficult for operators to invest suitably in the network to ensure the bandwidth for meeting the demands of peak season, while also making a profit.

Our overseers want to ensure that there is opportunity for telcos to continue to make money, therefore there can be exemptions. In order to be granted a year’s exemption, Finnish European MP Miapetra Kumpula-Natrisaid has said that operators have to prove implementing them would cause more than 3% in revenue losses.

The argument for the Finn’s who don’t want to play nice, is that unlimited data plans in Finland are almost ubiqtuous. As telcos abroad would charge the Finnish telcos when their customers use data abroad, this would create a lop-sided balance, i.e. Finnish telcos would be charged more per user, than they were charging foreign telcos when their customers visit Finland, due to the fact the Finn’s have more data to play around with.

To be completely honest, we are hardly surprised there is resistance to the new rules. A couple of weeks ago, sat down with our colleagues at Ofcom who told us why regulating the industry takes so long; the telcos are constantly complaining. They are resistant to any changes, and have heavyweight legal teams which can make the process complicated.

But really Finland, we thought you were cool.


  1. Avatar piotrmiecz 07/06/2017 @ 3:37 pm

    Dear Telecoms.

    there are couple countries in which operators opt-out from RLAH , eg. Lithuania.
    I see some errors in your post. First of all its not 3% of revenue but 3% of EBITDA from mobile services.

    I dont understand why you think that offering service BELOW costs is could to anyone? You totally just scratch the surface. for example there are lots of operators, especially in CEE region and Scandinavia in which local operators are NET giver of roaming traffic to foreign countries. When you add that unlimited voice offers are really popular this would mean that actually eg. polish operator is obligated to offers service below costs! This is total absurd and this is why some operators like TDC in Denmark just turn off the roaming feature.

    There are lots mistakes in the RLAH regulation. eg. it is said you could use your roaming with “home rates” for even 2 months. Countries with lots of emigration like Ireland and Poland would really suffer.

    Unfortunately European commission suppose to implement Digital single market. Instead it will be fragmented digital market. RLAH is a failure.

    kind regards,

  2. Avatar piotrmiecz 07/06/2017 @ 3:38 pm

    “I dont understand why you think that offering service BELOW costs is could to anyone”

    Should be:
    I dont understand why you think that offering service BELOW costs is good to anyone

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