EU Calls For Lower Mobile Roaming Fees

Commissioner calls it a

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European mobile phone companies are charging customers too much when they send text messages or check email while traveling, a top European Union official said Monday.

Viviane Reding, the European commissioner responsible for media and telecommunications, told industry executives that she would introduce new rules unless they decreased data roaming charges voluntarily by July 1st.

"Sending text messages or downloading other data via a mobile phone while being in another EU country should not be substantially more expensive for a consumer than sending text messages or downloading data at home," said Reding.

"Business customers should be able to use data communications in the EU like their competitors are doing in the single market of the United States. Higher roaming charges abroad must be justified by additional costs of operators, or they will have to disappear."

According to the European Regulators Group downloading 1 megabyte of data on a mobile phone costs on average 5.24 euros ($7.61) in ones own country, but up to 11 euros ($15.97) when the customer is in another country within the EU.

"The EU encourages its citizens to study in other countries; we make it attractive for tourists to travel in Europe; and we encourage companies to do business abroad. The EU cannot at the same time allow the mobile phone industry to ‘rip off’ mobile customers who make use of these freedoms," Reding said.

Last summer, Reding forced mobile operators to decrease roaming charges for voice calls despite the strong opposition of the industry.

Reding said the European Regulators Group (ERG), which brings telecoms together was not effective, pointing out that British and Irish regulators were willing to lower roaming charges, while regulators in Germany and Spain were not.


EU Calls For Lower Mobile Roaming Fees
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