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Telecoms: European Commission launches public consultation on the functioning and the effects of the EU Roaming Regulation

European Commission - IP/08/718   07/05/2008

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IP/08/718

Brussels, 7 May 2008

Telecoms: European Commission launches public consultation on the functioning and the effects of the EU Roaming Regulation

As of today, the European Commission invites feedback by industry, consumers and other interested stakeholders to review the functioning and effectiveness of the EU Roaming Regulation, which entered into force on 30 June 2007. According to the provisions of the Regulation, the Commission must report to the European Parliament and the Council in 2008 about the functioning of the new roaming rules and their effects. The public consultation aims to gather responses from mobile operators, businesses, consumer associations and any interested party by 2 July 2008.

The public consultation seeks feedback from stakeholders on the general functioning and impact of the current Regulation as well as on specific issues such as:

  • inadvertent roaming (or involuntary roaming) when consumers use their mobile phone close to the border of a neighbouring country and are connected to a foreign network;
  • the effect of the Regulation on smaller operators and on domestic prices;
  • the issue of actual and billed minutes (e.g. whether there has been any detrimental trend away from "per second" to "per minute" billing as a result of the Regulation);
  • whether regulation is necessary for data roaming services and SMS in light of current retail prices and market developments;
  • the duration of the EU Roaming Regulation (until 30 June 2010 or beyond).

Background

The EU Roaming Regulation of 30 June 2007 (IP/07/870) requires operators to offer customers a "Eurotariff" for voice calls when roaming in other Member States and introduced ceilings (excl. VAT) of €0.49 per minute for making calls and €0.24 per minute for receiving calls. These will decrease to €0.46 and €0.22 respectively on 30 August 2008 and to €0.43 and €0.19 on 30 August 2009. At the end of September 2007, over 400 million EU citizens could already benefit from a "Eurotariff".

The Roaming Regulation is limited to voice calls and expires on 30 June 2010 unless the European Parliament and the Council decide to extend it beyond this date, on the basis of a proposal from the European Commission. The Commission must carry out a review and report to the European Parliament and the Council in 2008.

A first report from the European Regulators Group in January 2008 illustrated the Regulation's first positive impact on average tariffs and reported on prices for SMS and other data services (IP/08/58). On average, users had to pay €5.24 per MB for data services and €0.29 for an SMS in the third quarter of 2007.

The Commission's public consultation document can be found on:

http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/activities/roaming/index_en.htm

Input can be sent to: infso-roaming@ec.europa.eu

REGULATION (EC) No 717/2007

OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL

of 27 June 2007

on roaming on public mobile telephone networks within the Community

and amending Directive 2002/21/EC

Article 11

Review

1. The Commission shall review the functioning of this Regulation and report to the European Parliament and the Council no later than 30 December 2008. The Commission shall evaluate in particular whether the objectives of this Regulation have been achieved. In its report the Commission shall review developments in wholesale and retail charges for the provision to roaming customers of voice and data communication services, including SMS and MMS, and shall, if appropriate, include recommendations regarding the need to regulate these services. [...]

2. In its report, the Commission shall assess whether, in the light of developments in the market and with regard to both competition and consumer protection, there is need to extend the duration of this Regulation beyond the period set out in Article 13 [= 30 June 2010] or to amend it, taking into account the developments in charges for mobile voice and data communication services at national level and the effects of this Regulation on the competitive situation of smaller, independent or newly started operators. If the Commission finds that there is such a need, it shall submit a proposal to the European Parliament and the Council.


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