Roaming on public mobile communications networks within the Union. Recast
On 10th May the European Parliament (EP) adopted the report (578 for, 10 against, 10 abstentions), drafted by Angelika Niebler, on behalf of Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE), at the Plenary in Brussels.
Since Motorola invented the first cellular portable telephone in 1973, mobile phone usage has increased exponentially and now millions of Europeans use mobile phones daily to make calls, send messages via the Short Message Service (SMS) and surf the internet with the latter two groups increasing dramatically since the advent of smart phones. In a recent Eurobarometer survey on roaming, although 75% of the respondents said they had used roaming services to make calls, send text messages and surf the internet, during their last trip abroad most Europeans switch off their mobile phones when abroad, fearful of the bill which will be waiting for them when they get home, which can be extremely high.
"As regards data roaming, only 19 % of those who use their mobile phone to surf the internet while abroad agree that the costs are reasonable. According to the Commission, the average cost per megabyte is currently EUR 2, but can, in extreme cases, be as much as EUR 12. This sorry state of affairs is largely due to the fact that there is still not enough competition on the roaming market. Excessive roaming tariffs and the consequent low level of use of roaming services within the EU are not in the interests of European consumers or of the European economy. This development is incompatible with the fundamental idea of a digital single market. The proposal for a regulation is intended to help to rectify this situation. In its 2010 Digital Agenda for Europe, the Commission set the objective of bringing roaming tariffs into line with those for domestic mobile services by 2015, something that the European Parliament has been advocating for years and urging the Commission to do by means of legislative proposals." (Niebler Report)
For years the EP has urged the Commission to act to change the status quo, by means of legislative proposals, and this current proposal from the Commission aims to rectify this situation. Thus as part of the Commission's Digital Agenda for Europe one of the Commission's objectives is to bring tariffs for roaming into line with those charged for domestic mobile services by 2015.
The Commission's proposal will tackle the current lack of competition and consumer choice by:
•making it easier for alternative operators, like mobile virtual network operators, to enter roaming markets by requiring network operators in other Member States to give them access to their networks at regulated wholesale prices. This would create more competition between operators on roaming markets, and so increase the incentives for them to offer customers more attractive prices and services;
•letting consumers choose an alternative provider for roaming services, irrespective of their national provider. Each time the customer crossed a border, they would automatically switch to their chosen roaming provider, without any further action on their part, while keeping the same number and subscriber identity module (SIM card). This would enhance transparency and allow customers to shop around for the best roaming offers and encourage operators to offer more competitive roaming deals. (COM(2011)0402 Summary)
The European Council discussed the proposal concentrating of the areas of:
Role of the BEREC (Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications):
The issue of competition:
Wholesale and retail price caps:
Price cap withdrawal mechanism:
Transparency and safeguard mechanism:
On 24th April ITRE adopted report, drafted by Angelika Niebler (54 for, 0 against, 1 abstention) on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on roaming on public mobile communications networks within the Union (recast).
Or alternatively visit the website: http://www.europarl.europa.eu
Last Updated (Thursday, 17 May 2012 11:39)