Thursday, May 8, 2008

European Commission Revisits Roaming Regulations

The European Commission has launched a public consultation on the functioning and the effects of the EU Roaming Regulation. Feedback is being sought from industry, consumers and other interested stakeholders to review the functioning and effectiveness of the EU Roaming Regulation, which entered into force on 30 June 2007.

Specific issues under review include:

  • inadvertent roaming (or involuntary roaming) when consumers use their mobile phone close to the border of a neighbouring country and are connected to a foreign network;

  • the effect of the Regulation on smaller operators and on domestic prices;

  • the issue of actual and billed minutes (e.g. whether there has been any detrimental trend away from "per second" to "per minute" billing as a result of the Regulation);

  • whether regulation is necessary for data roaming services and SMS in light of current retail prices and market developments;

  • the duration of the EU Roaming Regulation (until 30 June 2010 or beyond).

Current EU Roaming Regulation requires operators to offer customers a "Eurotariff" for voice calls when roaming in other Member States and introduced ceilings (excl. VAT) of €0.49 per minute for making calls and €0.24 per minute for receiving calls. These will decrease to €0.46 and €0.22 respectively on 30 August 2008 and to €0.43 and €0.19 on 30 August 2009. At the end of September 2007, over 400 million EU citizens could already benefit from a "Eurotariff".

The Roaming Regulation is limited to voice calls and expires on 30 June 2010 unless the European Parliament and the Council decide to extend it beyond this date, on the basis of a proposal from the European Commission. The Commission must carry out a review and report to the European Parliament and the Council in 2008.

See also