Sunday

22nd May 2022

EU states aim for less ambitious roaming fee cuts

Some EU member states are pressing for higher mobile roaming prices when EU citizens use their phone abroad in the 27-country union than the ones proposed by a European Parliament report earlier this month.

A draft proposal agreed by EU diplomats in Brussels and leaked to Danish paper Politiken and US publication International Herald Tribune, aims for less ambitious cuts than agreed by the industry committee in parliament.

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The member states' plan foresees EU telecommunications ministers in June setting caps at €0.60 per minute to make a call and €0.30 cents for receiving calls - plus value-added tax - when using one's mobile phone in another EU country.

The parliament had proposed to reduce roaming charges to a maximum of €0.40 a minute for outgoing calls, and €0.15 for incoming calls, plus value-added tax.

Under the MEPs' plan, charges would also apply automatically without consumers having to change contracts and without any fees, while the EU member states' proposal recommends that consumers be required to opt into any new legal tariff, according to the International Herald Tribune.

Tourist-rich countries

Germany, France, Spain, Greece and the UK are pressing for a more industry-friendly solution as they all have telecoms companies that receive large profits from the multitude of tourists visiting the five states, writes Danish daily Politiken.

Representatives from the EU countries, the parliament and from the European Commission are set to meet behind closed doors on Tuesday (24 April) in Strasbourg to seek a compromise.

The commission started the battle against telecoms operators in 2006 after years of voluntary measures failed to see prices drop, with some roaming fees standing as high as €12.30 per minute.

Telecoms ministers in March agreed to retail price controls but took no position on how high the caps should be.

The full 785 MEPs will vote on the report at a plenary meeting on 9 May while EU telecoms ministers will discuss the proposed law when they meet on 7 June.

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