With the beginning of summer and travelling time, travellers are warned over the high costs of using their mobile phones when abroad. When abroad, most mobile phone operators still charge roaming fees that are several times higher than what customers pay at home.
While prices for phone calls and SMS have been regulated within the European Union to save users from the worst bill shocks, the costs are still several times higher than for domestic use. Especially the costs for using data services such as surfing the web or sending e-mails are not yet subject to effective controls and can quickly get out of hand. This means that mobile phone users, especially those with modern smart phones or tablets can still get an unpleasant surprise after returning home.To finally end unfair roaming charges, the network “Europeans for fair roaming” (www.fairroaming.org) calls on the European Union to take appropriate measures to achieve fair roaming regulation:
- Customers should not have to pay considerably more for calling, SMS and data usage when visiting other EU states than they pay at home.
- Customer protection and transparency should be further improved by establishing mechanisms (SMS, apps, internet services) to keep customers informed about roaming prices and their usage of services.
- Market mechanisms should be strengthened in order to reduce costs both for providers and customers.
- We see the reduction of roaming rates as the first step towards a European market for telecommunications. Therefore, we call on the EU to work towards removing other existing barriers for an integrated European telecom market.
- In the long term, eliminate the concept of roaming charges for 4G services entirely and to allow users to use the access network of the strongest signal wherever they are, thus maximising coverage and performance and infrastructure sharing.