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EU proposes further roaming price cuts

The European Commission has proposed that text-roaming costs be cut by 60 percent, and that measures be introduced to prevent data-roaming "bill shocks".
Written by Tom Espiner, Contributor

The European Commission is pushing for further cuts to roaming charges in Europe.

The Commission on Tuesday proposed that charges for roaming text messages be slashed by 60 percent by next summer. It proposed a retail cap of 0.11 euros (US$0.16) excluding VAT on roaming text messages, combined with a 0.04 euros (US$0.06) cap at wholesale level, to be introduced by 1 July 2009.

The Commission also called for measures to reduce the cost of mobile data roaming and prevent "bill shocks". These measures include roaming customers receiving an automatic message with data-roaming charges for the country they have entered. In addition, the Commission proposed that from summer 2010 consumers should be able to specify in advance how high their data-roaming bill can go before the service is cut off.

"Using your mobile phone abroad in the EU should not cost unjustifiably more than at home, whether for making calls, sending texts or surfing the Web," said telecoms commissioner Viviane Reding in a speech on Tuesday.

The proposed cuts must be submitted to the European Parliament for approval before they can become law.

The Commission's demands for lower rates follow the announcement in August of a price cap for roaming calls on mobile phones. The move precedes a vote on Wednesday in the European Parliament on telecoms reform, including a proposal to establish an EU-wide agency for telecoms.

"Tomorrow, we will go [to] the root of the problem--the lack of independence and co-ordination among national telecoms regulators, insufficient competition [and] inconsistent regulation in different countries," Commission spokesman Martin Selmayr told ZDNet Asia's sister site ZDNet UK on Tuesday.

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