EU to Rule on Roaming Price Caps for Mobile Data
Jul 15, 2008
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European regulators are nearing a decision on whether to impose price caps on text messaging and mobile Internet use while traveling. Any caps would be similar to one the EU imposed last summer on crossborder voice calls and would cover usage while roaming outside a subscriber's home country.
EU Telecoms Commissioner Viviane Reding has accused phone companies of charging too much for data roaming. She has urged them to bring down prices voluntarily by July 1 or face an EU-imposed cap on fees.
Costs people pay for making mobile phone calls outside their home countries have dropped by as much as 60% since the European Union executive capped fees last September. But those caps do not cover mobile Internet or 200 billion text messages that are sent a year in western Europe. Reding said that prices of those services have dropped only marginally and they need to fall further to encourage more people to use mobile Internet.
Crossing a border within the EU’s 27 nations can hike the costs of text messaging, according to European regulators.
Mobile phone operators have accused Reding of meddling with the market and insist prices are already dropping. They claim that price regulations would disrupt a system that supports some the less profitable services they offer and subsidizes phone handsets that many subscribers receive for only a nominal charge.
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