The European citizens’ Initiative “Europeans for Fair Roaming” welcomes the new proposal of the European Parliament to lower roaming charges in Europe but remains committed that prices could be lower. The European Parliament today voted on amendments to the newest push by the EU against the high costs of using mobile phones abroad.
In their proposal, parliamentarians propose to lower costs for roaming calls to 15ct per minute and for internet access to 20ct per Megabyte (or 200€ per Gigabyte) until 2014. While those prices are still higher than what would have been appropriate according to the European telecom regulator BEREC, they are an improvement over older proposals by the European Commission.
Bengt Beier, coordinator of the citizens’ initiative Europeans for Fair Roaming stated: “We welcome the newest decision by the European Parliament, even though they are not as courageous as we hoped. Our demands for fair roaming regulation – no more than 11ct per minute for making calls, free receiving of calls and a maximum price of 100€ per GB for internet were based on serious numbers as has now also been proven by BEREC. There is no reason why consumers should pay up to 200€ per GB for using their internet when abroad. The same service costs only a fraction of that at home.”
Based on data from BEREC, especially for internet roaming, prices for consumers should not be higher than 150€ per GB. Half a GB to one GB is the average consumption of internet data for smartphone or tablet users.
Lower price caps would therefore have been possible according to Bengt Beier: “European politicians have promised us prices for roaming services that are near domestic rates. Now the Parliament risks to fail to deliver attractive prices for consumers. They could have made roaming even cheaper but they did not.”
In addition to lower prices for calls, SMS and internet use, consumers will also be given the right to easily choose another operator when abroad and will get better protection when using their mobile devices abroad.