EC to chase roaming agreement this week

The roaming debate looks set to come to a crunch this week, with European regulators and the EC to hold an informal ministerial meeting on roaming charges during the CeBit conference in Hanover, on Thursday.

Ministers will discuss the next stage of the process to reduce roaming fees. Although most EU member states agree that roaming tariffs need to be reduced, there is still disagreement about how regulation should be implemented.

The EC on Monday said the proposals on roaming cuts are now being fast tracked, as the authority wants legislation to be in place by July.

Last week, Viviane Reding, European commissioner for information society and media, said that “every effort should be made to successfully conclude the legislative process on the reduction of roaming by the first half of 2007”.

But some national regulators are still thought to be holding out against the EC’s proposals.’s sister publication, Global Mobile Daily, notes that the UK and Italy are against the Commission’s proposals to put in place an absolute ceiling for what operators can charge users for roaming calls.

The two countries are understood to be in favour instead, of an average ceiling, calculated over a year.

Regulatory sources in the UK said the process remains one of “constructive debate”.

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