Germany proposes to cap EU roaming rates

Germany is using its six month presidency of the European Union as leverage to push through proposals to regulate retail roaming rates in the region.

Draft proposals from the German government limit mobile operators’ retail roaming charges to between Eur0.50 to Eur0.60 per minute within the EU.

Germany is also proposing that consumers should have the option of a flat rate tariff for roaming packages, which would decrease the charges to lower than Eur0.50 to Eur0.60 per minute.

Naturally, the proposals are facing stiff opposition from the operator community as well as the UK and French governments, which have asked that the regulatory proposals only apply to wholesale rates.

France and the UK are understood to only be backing regulation of wholesale roaming rates, with the intention of waiting to see whether operators passed these cuts on to retail rates.

Germany’s proposals are on a par with those proposed by Viviane Reding, the EU commissioner for Information Society and Media last year. The EC has proposed to cap retail profits at 30 per cent, significantly less than current prices.

Germany’s tenure of the European presidency ends in the summer, which ties in with Reding’s warning that operators are on a time limit to cut roaming rates.

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