Daily Management Review

Europe Cancels Roaming Charges


Europe cancels roaming charges in the EU starting from June 15, 2017 in. Telephone companies, however, will be allowed to charge additional fees in certain cases.

Roaming charges on the territory of the EU to be abolished 15 June 2017. This decision was made by representatives of the EU and the European Parliament, after 12 hours of marathon negotiations in Brussels on the morning of Tuesday, June 30, - said a spokesman for the Latvian Presidency of the current EU.

This, however, does not mean the complete abolition of surcharges for telephone calls, sending text messages and Internet access for users in other EU countries. Providers are allowed to introduce restrictions, for example, in cases where the customers use mobile services in another European country often, and not only during rare trips. Providers are also allowed to charge for incurred higher costs.

Roaming charges within the EU is planned to be abolished in stages over the next two years. On April 30, 2016, payments for such services to be again significantly reduced: telephone calls in other EU countries will cost only 5 cents per minute (currently - 19 cents per minute for outgoing and 5 cents - for incoming), SMS - 2 cents instead of the current five, and one megabyte of data - just 5 cents (now - 20 cents per MB).

The meeting in Brussels also agreed that Internet providers in the transmission of packet data are not entitled to give preference to those or other packages depending on their source and content, said the agency dpa.

Telecom executives do not agree with this. The more so because it is not only on the Abolition of roaming charges, depriving their major source of income, but also lower prices for inter-operator roaming fees, which could undermine their profits on the domestic market. "By one stroke of the pen, regulators want to negate our investments in regional infrastructure, - complains a top manager of one of the operators. - Undermines our future investments. "

According to figures cited by FT, European roaming operators brought the more than 4.5 billion euros in 2012. If the regulations do not change, then in 2015 this figure would be about 3.4 billion euros, and the abolition of roaming charges in the EU space will reduce it to about $ 1.5 billion.

Virtual mobile operators (MVNO) that do not have their own networks, but using someone else's, will take advantage of a decrease in wholesale prices. Bernstein analyst Robin Binenstok warns that the proposed measure will hurt the pocket of the European mobile companies in the coming years. "It's not just roaming, but also the possibility of the emergence of more profitable MVNO», - he says.

Until now, the heads of European operators approve such activities, including measures to reduce the cost of connection to the fixed lines of communication. The plan to create a single telecommunications market initially also met with approval, but the situation changed when the details of the project became known. "The Commission refuses to earlier promises - said the head of one of the operators. - We do not see measures to protect investments and to ensure growth in the industry. "

EU digital Policy Commissioner Neelie Kroes disagrees: "The decline in prices interconnect positive impact on investment. We want stability and certainty, and our actions eliminate the barriers between individual countries." Another Brussels official adds: "It is very difficult to explain to people that our actions will help thousands of companies, which still does not even exist."