Thursday

22nd Oct 2020

Mobile roaming charges to drop in July

  • Kroes vowed to complete a single telecom market in less than two years (Photo: ec.europa.eu)

Mobile roaming charges will drop across Europe on 1 July, the European Commission announced on Tuesday (25 June).

“As of the first of July, prices across the EU will fall in seven categories for retail and wholesale charges that deal with mobile roaming,” European Commission spokesman Ryan Heath told reporters in Brussels.

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The price for sending an SMS, making telephone calls, and browsing or downloading data from the Internet on a mobile phone will all drop in the hosting member state.

The retail prices, excluding VAT, as of 1 July will be:

Twenty-four cents per minute to place a telephone call, 7 cents per minute when receiving a call and 8 cents to send an SMS.

Downloading data or browsing the Internet will cost 45 cents plus VAT per megabyte, which is a 36 percent price drop when compared to last year.

The price cuts also affect Croatia, which is set to join the EU as the 28th member state on 1 July.

People traveling to Croatia “will enjoy roaming up to 15 times cheaper than they do today,” said Heath.

The cuts are put of a larger plan by digital agenda commissioner Neelie Kroes to eradicate roaming charges throughout the bloc.

The commission is expected to put forward a single telecom package proposal with provisions to get rid of roaming for good.

Kroes told MEPs in late May that a final package will be tabled by Easter next year.

"I want you to go back to your constituents and say you were able to able to end mobile roaming charges," she said.

When the legislation with a possible no-roaming charge provision will be implemented remains undecided.

Meanwhile, a further round of roaming cuts are expected in July 2014.

The price drops are expected to hit the revenue streams of the some 100 different operators in Europe.

Industry analysts say the European telecom sector is fragmented and that companies are struggling with rising costs.

But the commission says lower prices have increased the roaming market size by 680 percent. It notes companies will need to move to business models where they have more sustainable sources of income.

A report published in April by the Brussels-based European Telecommunications Network Operators’ Association (Etno), which represents 37 companies, says the industry is slowly losing money despite the increase demand for its services.

The report notes a lack of proper investment in infrastructure and a fragmented market put the EU companies at a disadvantage when compared to the US and Asia.

The EU sector generates some €282 billion but is expected to contract by €50 billion before the end of the decade if nothing is done, says Etno.

“The biggest cause for this potential contraction is that the decline in voice revenues is far from offset by growth in broadband access charges,” states the report.

Germany asks capitals to give a little in EU budget impasse

European Parliament negotiators are demanding €39bn in new funding for EU programmes such as Horizon research and Erasmus, in talks with the German EU presidency on the budget. Meanwhile, rule-of-law enforcement negotiations have only just begun.

EU budget talks suspended in fight for new funds

MEPs are requesting additional, new funding of €39bn for 15 EU programs. The German presidency argues that budget ceilings, agreed by EU leaders at a marathon summit in July, will be impossible to change without a new leaders' meeting.

EU countries stuck on rule of law-budget link

Divisions among EU governments remain between those who want to suspend EU funds if rule of law is not respected, and those who want to narrow down conditionality.

MEPs warn of 'significant gaps' in budget talks

The budget committee chair said the European Parliament expects tangible improvements to the package in its talks with member states - while the German minister argued that the EU leaders' deal was difficult enough.

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