EC blasts operators over roaming rates

Dylan Bushell-Embling
telecomasia.net
Neelie Kroes, the European Commission’s top digital business official, has chastised EU operators for failing to do more to reduce roaming rates, and suggested that competition is still not strong enough.
   
The EC-mandated roaming rate caps have led to a 60-70% reduction in call and SMS rates since 2005, but prices are still barely below the prescribed limits according to am EC progress report.   
 
The interim report suggests the EC is leaning towards lowering roaming limits rather than abolishing them, when it reviews the rules next year.   
 
“[T]hree years since the rules came in, most operators propose retail prices that hover around the maximum legal caps. More competition on the EU roaming market would provide better choice and even better rates to consumers,” said Kroes, the EC digital agenda vice president.   
 
The EC wants to almost completely remove the disparity between domestic and inter-EU tariffs by 2015.
  
It will oversee a further drop in outbound voice rates to €0.39 per minute today, from €0.43 at present. 
 
Wholesale data roaming charges are also due to be cut tomorrow, falling from €1 per MB to €0.80, however most carriers already charge around €0.55 per MB.   

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