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Mobile roaming: MEPs win deal with Council to lower price caps

ITRE Press release - Information society28-03-2012 - 13:34
 

Data roaming and phone calls abroad should be much cheaper this summer thanks to a deal provisionally agreed by MEPs and the Danish Presidency of the Council of Ministers on Tuesday evening. The deal still needs to be approved by Parliament as a whole, but if approved, the new rules would take effect on 1 July 2012.


"I am satisfied that the Council approved Parliament's approach to tackle very high prices of phone calls, SMS and in particular of data roaming. The proposed price caps ensure a sufficient margin between wholesale and retail prices to assure a level of competition that will enable new players to enter the market. Parliament succeeded in its call for cheaper data roaming for customers. This agreement increase transparency and consumer protection to prevent bill shocks, so that EU consumers no longer need to worry about accidentally running up huge bills when using their mobile devices both within and outside the EU", said Angelika Niebler (EPP, DE), Parliament's rapporteur for the draft legislation.


New cuts on roaming charges in particular for data and phone calls


According to the deal, a downloaded megabyte would cost no more than 70 cents as of 1 July 2012, 45 cents in 2013 and 20 cents as of 1 July 2014 to consumers, as requested by the Industry Committee. There is currently no price ceiling for mobile data services charged to consumers.


The cost of a one-minute call would not exceed 29 cents as of 1 July 2012 and 19 cents as of July 2014, down from 35 cents under the current legislation. An SMS would cost no more than 9 cents as of 1 July 2012 and 6 cents as of 1 July 2014, down from 11 cents under the current legislation.


The new proposals aim to meet the Digital Agenda for Europe pledge to bring roaming tariffs into line with domestic prices by 2015, in line with Parliament's requests.


Structural measures to boost competition


Operators would have to enable customers to buy roaming services separately from 1 July 2014, so that they could chose alternative service suppliers for roaming whilst retaining their national operators for domestic use and keeping their national phone numbers. Home country providers would have to inform their customers of this right and any switch to an alternative roaming service provider would have to be free of charge.


Domestic mobile service suppliers would also have to enable their customers to access mobile local data services  while abroad without having to unsubscribe from their existing data roaming contract or arrangement, and while keeping their mobile number.


To boost competition, the agreement also proposes facilitating access to the wholesale market for new alternative operators (known as mobile virtual network operators, or MVNOs).


Improving transparency and consumer protection


The deal also takes on board MEPs' amendments to improve price transparency and information on charges to users of roaming services, both within and outside the EU.


New price caps


The current legislation capping roaming charges for phone calls, SMS messaging expires in 30 June 2012.


Retail ceilings (charged to consumers) excluding VAT



Current

1 July 2012

1 July 2013

1 July 2014

Data (per megabyte)

None

70 cents

45 cents

20 cents

Phone calls made (per minute)

35 cents

29 cents

24 cents

19 cents

Phone calls received (per minute)

11 cents

8 cents

7 cents

5 cents

SMS (per SMS)

11 cents

9 cents

8 cents

6 cents


Wholesale ceilings (charged between operators) excluding VAT



Current

1 July 2012

1 July 2013

1 July 2014

Data (per megabyte)

50 cents

25 cents

15 cents

5 cents


Phone calls (per minute)

18 cents

14 cents

10 cents

5 cents


SMS (per SMS)

4 cents

3 cents

2 cents

2 cents




Press conference


A press conference with rapporteur will be held from 15.30 to 16.00 in the European Parliament press conference room.


Procedure: first reading


Vote in plenary: May, Brussels

REF. : 20120326IPR41842
Updated: ( 18-04-2012 - 20:30)
 
 
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