Since February 2009 , this blog and Huib's 3 other Euroblogs are together at:

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- L'Europe Chez Soi [FR]
- At Home in Europe [EN]
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Friday, April 13, 2007

EP supports EU roaming charges caps!

What appears as a setback to the 'mobile phone industry' and the Financial Times, is a big step to victory for 479 mln. mobile phone owners in the EU. A binding EU cap on international mobile phone calls will be in force by next June! In time for summer holidays.

Mobile phone companies have tried every possible trick to avoid or to weaken the correction of their exploitation of the national procurement policy of mobile telephone licences. In this blog, we have closely monitored their lobbying. interesting for future market regulations.

Next steps should be:

  • A cap on internet roaming charges (GPRS)
  • EU-wide procurement of mobile telephone licences.

This is what the FT has to say about the EP-decision in favour of the EC proposal:

EU setback for mobile phone industry

By Sarah Laitner in Brussels

Published: April 12 2007 11:10 | Last updated: April 12 2007 11:10

The European mobile phone industry on Thursday suffered a setback when an
influential parliamentary committee backed plans to slash the cost of cross-border calls.

Legislators in Brussels voted to protect the EU’s 479m mobile phone users from expensive fees to make and receive calls while travelling in European countries other than their own.

The industry committee in the European parliament called for maximum charges of €0.40 per minute to make a call and €0.15 per minute to receive one.

Acknowledging that price controls were inevitable, operators had called for higher caps of €0.65 and €0.35 respectively.

Mobile phone groups such as Vodafone have fought hard against the plans to force cuts to ”roaming” rates, which are estimated to be worth €8.5bn a year to the EU’s telecoms industry.

Viviane Reding, EU telecoms commissioner, last year proposed regulation of international charges after claiming that consumers paid unjustifiably high roaming fees. She wants cuts of up to 70 per cent.

The vote by the industry committee in Brussels sets the stage for a binding decision on roaming rates by the full European parliament assembly next month and the suggested price caps could yet change.

EU telecoms ministers are expected to hold the final vote on the proposal in June.

And --- Oh yes! "...suggested price caps could yet change." - Should we expect a very last ditch from the industry to get higher caps, as a "transition" maybe?

The companies have had two years already to prepare for it. There is no need for a longer "transition".

An interesting move by the consumers against a transitional excuse for continued overpricing, could be this proposal: Set the price cap for June 1, 2006 and let the companies refund to their customers the difference between the capped price and the money they received from roaming charges...

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