We believe the current level of mobile phone roaming prices in Europe is incompatible with basic principles of European law and that the huge profits mobile phone operators make with roaming are not in accord with the services provided. Even though (after years of lobbying by organisations such as INTUG and BEUC) the EU has already put caps on how much providers are allowed to charge their customers for roaming, the prices are still much higher than what customers have to pay at home.
We call 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 .
Concrete proposals on the new EU roaming regulation
While the new roaming regulation proposed by the European Commission in July 2011 already includes many of our demands and proposals, there are still several improvements we see as necessary. These include non-discrimination of small and virtual operators accessing roaming services, lower price caps (especially for internet access), free receiving of calls, concrete plans for a more integrated European telecommunications market, and more. Please have a look at our position paper: Roaming Improvements.