Mobile operators hit back over EU data roaming threat

Mobile World Congress 2008: Regulation will stifle innovation, says GSMA

Mobile World Congress 2008: Regulation will stifle innovation, says GSMA

The mobile industry has hit back at European Union threats to introduce regulation to force data roaming price cuts.

The GSM Association (GSMA), which represents mobile operators, says prices are already falling and that any move to intervene in this market by regulators could stifle innovation and stunt the development of new data offerings for roaming.

Tom Phillips, chief government and regulatory affairs officer of the GSMA, said in a statement: "This market is evolving rapidly as operators develop new and innovative services and tariff packages, including flat rate pricing packages and bundles. In such a period of rapid growth and innovation, the GSMA believes that talk of regulation is premature."

But the threat of regulation was welcomed by consumer price comparison website

Rob Barnes, head of broadband and mobiles at, said in a statement: "Costs for Brits using mobiles abroad are amongst the highest in Europe and we welcome the European Commission steps towards reducing texting and data roaming charges.

"For too long networks have been free to charge as much as they like for texts and data, in some cases charging more for a text than to make a one-minute phone call."

The biggest mobile roaming cost for users is downloading data, according to the price comparison website. Orange customers pay £8 per megabyte while 3 customers pay £3 per megabyte. Vodafone offers a roaming package for £5 per day for up to 15 megabytes.