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Operators to provide data-roaming price 'index'

The GSM Association, the organisation that represents mobile operators, is to launch a guide showing off the best data-roaming tariffs in Europe.The "periodical data-roaming price basket index" was announced on Tuesday at the Regulating Mobile Roaming Charges policy forum in Brussels.
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Written by David Meyer, Freelance reporter on

The GSM Association, the organisation that represents mobile operators, is to launch a guide showing off the best data-roaming tariffs in Europe.

The "periodical data-roaming price basket index" was announced on Tuesday at the Regulating Mobile Roaming Charges policy forum in Brussels. GSMA Europe director Martin Whitehead said the "benchmark" would give regulators a better idea of the data-roaming offers that are available, as compared with the figures that are informing upcoming price regulation.

The first of the quarterly guides will come out before the Commission makes its regulatory proposals at the end of June, Whitehead told ZDNet UK.

Operators at the forum expressed displeasure with the European Commission's use of figures compiled by Berec — the EU regulators' group — that derive from the second half of 2010. According to Whitehead, many better data-roaming offers have appeared this year or very late last year. The new deals referred to by Whitehead include Telecom Italia's offer of 10MB for €5 with extra megabytes at €1 each, and Vodafone's offer of €2 per daily 25MB.

Whitehead said the index would "monitor and track the best data-roaming prices in the market", so as to "give regulators and legislators a fuller and more up-to-date figure of the dynamism in the market".

However, when asked whether it would also cover the worst deals, he said it would not.

Vesa Terava, the head of the Commission unit that is formulating new roaming policy, defended the use of the 2010 figures, saying regulatory policy had to be based on "the data which is available". Nonetheless, he said the Commission welcomed the new offers.

"Of course, if these disruptive offers were available a year ago, they would have been reflected in the Berec data," Terava noted.

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