EC lowers cap on voice-roaming prices

Summary:Commissioner Viviane Reding has announced that the maximum tariff for voice calls will be reduced on 30 August, and has said data-roaming costs remain 'unjustifiably high'

The European Commission has lowered the price ceiling for roaming voice calls.

Information society commissioner Viviane Reding announced on Friday that from 30 August the price cap for roaming calls on mobile phones would be reduced from €0.49 (39 pence) to €0.46 per minute (excluding VAT) for making a call, and from €0.24 to €0.22 per minute (excluding VAT) for receiving a call, while in another EU country.

The price reductions are due to the EU's Roaming Regulation, adopted by the Commission in 2007 to "curb the excessive roaming charges consumers had to pay for roaming calls."

"The EU Roaming Regulation was introduced so that Europeans could exercise freedom of speech with their mobile phones without fear of excessive bills when travelling in the single market," Viviane Reding said in a statement on Friday. "As a result over 400 million consumers across Europe have benefited from significant savings of around 60 percent when making and receiving calls during travel, holiday or business."

Reding and the Commission have now set their sights on text and data roaming costs, which they say are "unjustifiably high".

"In the first quarter of 2008, a customer using data services paid on average €2.05 per megabyte while roaming with companies from their operator’s group, and €5.40 per megabyte for roaming with non-group companies," Reding stated. "Italian and Slovak consumers who roam with a non-group company can even pay over €12 per megabyte."

The EU Roaming Regulation will expire in 2010, and is currently under review. The Commission must propose whether to extend the regulation by the end of 2008, following a request from the European Parliament.

Topics: Mobility

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Tom is a technology reporter for ZDNet.com, writing about all manner of security and open-source issues.Tom had various jobs after leaving university, including working for a company that hired out computers as props for films and television, and a role turning the entire back catalogue of a publisher into e-books.Tom eventually found tha... Full Bio

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