The European Commission is looking for mobile phone companies to remove the cost difference between roaming and national tariffs by 2015. Rules brought in this summer imposed a cap on the costs when users call, text or use data when abroad but the Commission believe that companies are still uncompetitive and has launched a consultation to speed up the rate at which roaming charges will fall.
The Commission had hoped that the limit of €50 for roaming data would encourage operators to reduce this further to allow competition, but most mobile broadband operators still charge close to this.
"Ordinary citizens and businesses cannot understand why operators charge at today's high levels. Even operators with a footprint across many EU countries still impose significant extra charges for roaming in the countries where they have a presence. This happens even though the customers actually remain on the intra-group network! It is even more difficult for consumers to understand data pricing. Less than 5 cents for downloading a MB of data at home can turn into €2.60 per MB when they cross an invisible, and mostly artificial, border! Don't tell me that is all funding new investment in better networks; I can't defend that to citizens. I can't defend it for the simple reason that it isn't true."Neelie Kroes, (Vice-President for the Digital Agenda) European Commission
The consultation will run until February and help provide the footings for a review into EU wide roaming which will form a report to the European Parliament due by June 2011.