Menu
EU unveils plan to end roaming phone charges

EU unveils plan to end roaming phone charges

Lighter legislation is proposed for operators who remove expensive roaming charges

European Union telecommunications rules aimed at removing expensive roaming charges were unveiled Wednesday.

The proposed law, drawn up by Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes, includes both "carrot and stick" elements to encourage mobile phone operators to remove roaming charges for customers who use their mobile phones while traveling in the E.U.

The "carrot" part is lighter legislation for operators who offer a so-called "Roam Like At Home" product, with no difference in charges between the customer's home country or anywhere else in the E.U. Current E.U. laws, passed last year, require mobile phone operators to offer customers the chance to use a different provider when they travel. If they offer a Roam Like At Home package, they will not be required to decouple their roaming and domestic products in this way.

"But if your operator does not offer this, you can take matters into your own hands to avoid roaming charges. When you travel you can simply choose another provider who will give you better rates using same SIM card, same bill," Kroes said. That's the "stick" element of the proposal.

There's good news for consumers when it comes to contracts too. The proposed rules stipulate that a 12-month option must be provided and customers can leave without notice or penalty if contract terms change to their detriment.

Article 21 of the proposed regulation also states: "Providers of electronic communications to the public shall not apply any discriminatory requirements or conditions of access or use to end-users based on the end-user's nationality or place of residence unless such differences are objectively justified."

The proposed law would also make it easier for operators to launch cross-border services. Instead of having to get authorization from each individual national regulator, companies need only apply in one country, which will become a "reference regulator" for all authorizations, including subsequent withdrawal and suspensions.

In leaked earlier drafts of the proposal, the Commissioner appeared to be considering creating a single telecoms regulator to replace 28 national authorities. That may make the proposals easier for the European Parliament to swallow.

The Parliament must approve the proposed law and can make amendments before it goes before the Council of 28 member states for final approval.

Follow Jennifer on Twitter at @BrusselsGeek or email tips and comments to jennifer_baker@idg.com.


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags governmentregulationtelecommunication

Featured

Slideshows

Kiwi channel closes 2017 with After Hours

Kiwi channel closes 2017 with After Hours

The channel in New Zealand came together to celebrate the close of 2017, as the final After Hours played out in front of a bumper Auckland crowd.

Kiwi channel closes 2017 with After Hours
Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

HP honoured leading partners across the channel at the Partner Awards 2017 in New Zealand, recognising excellence across the entire print and personal systems portfolio.

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ
Tech industry comes together as Lexel celebrates turning 30

Tech industry comes together as Lexel celebrates turning 30

Leading figures within the technology industry across New Zealand came together to celebrate 30 years of success for Lexel Systems, at a milestone birthday occasion at St Matthews in the City.​

Tech industry comes together as Lexel celebrates turning 30
Show Comments