S&Ds propose lower inter-operator roaming charges to ensure affordable phone prices for all
Today the author of the European Parliament report on rules for wholesale roaming markets, Miapetra Kumpula-Natri, made public her proposal to reform the current system.
The European Parliament and the member states have already approved the end of roaming charges within the European Union by 15 June 2017. For that abolition to happen, however, new rules for the prices that operators charge each other for customers travelling to another European country must be introduced.
The European Commission proposed to set maximum wholesale roaming charges at €0.04/min for voice calls, €0.01/SMS and €0.0085/MB (or € 8.7/GB) in the EU, but the Socialists and Democrats Group wants a lower ceiling to ensure that customers will not have to pay the price for the profits made by operators.
Miapetra Kumpula-Natri MEP said:
“To roam like at home, the internet needs to be accessible and affordable everywhere in the EU.
“Getting the price cap for data right is the key issue. Data consumption is increasing rapidly in Europe. In the future, more data use should lead to lower cost per unit of data for operators; so citizens and enterprises should also benefit from those lower costs.
“In order to avoid a fixed price which will fast be outdated, I propose to set a maximum wholesale price cap of €5/GB for 2017, a cap which will then decrease by €1 euro/GB every year until 2022. This is more than enough to cover today’s real costs and investments in the digital infrastructure.
“We understand the need to make investments in the network to guarantee an optimal service for all. However, by imposing a wholesale price that is too high, operators in countries where data is cheap will end up raising the price for all its consumers, regardless of whether they travel or not.
“The consumers benefit from fair competition between the operators through low prices and innovative services. The data cap I’m proposing secures competition between all operators in the markets.”
The report will be voted by the European Parliament's industry committee on 29 November.