3 scraps roaming charges

Hutchison Whampoa’s 3G operation, 3 UK, on Monday put an end to roaming charges in markets where it owns a network.

Under the 3 Like Home service, users travelling to other 3 markets, Italy, Sweden, Denmark, Austria, Hong Kong, Australia and Ireland, can use their bundled minutes when calling back to the UK.

For calls made outside of the bundle or for prepay users, the standard charges for calls or messages back to the UK on these networks are £0.20 per min for voice calls, £0.10 per text, £0.50 per min for video calls, £0.25 per picture message and £050 per video message.

Charges for services on other networks and in other countries will remain at roaming prices and will depend on where the user is travelling.

Rival UK operator Vodafone responded to the move by saying operators can assume there will be more ongoing competitive pressure. “The market is forcing prices down on roaming,” a Vodafone spokesman said.

Last year, the European Commission threatened to put a cap on roaming fees if prices were not significantly reduced. Viviane Reding, the EU commissioner for Information Society and Media, is to hold further discussion on the matter this spring and legislation could come into play by the summer.

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