Smaller European Networks Worried About Roaming Regulations
Published on: 14th Mar 2014
By: Ian Mansfield
A coalition of smaller mobile networks has warned that plans to scrap roaming charges for consumers without also reviewing wholesale rates could put them at a competitive disadvantage.
A key European Parliament committee is due to vote on the proposals next week, that could see mobile networks forced to scrap roaming charges within the European Union.
The current proposal foresees the end of retail mobile roaming surcharges in the EU by 15 December 2015.
However, a coalition of 14 smaller mobile networks, with around 35 million customers between them warns that the current draft legislation does not address wholesale rates that are charged between the networks for roaming services.
Without any further reduction of wholesale caps, the coalition warns that will be economically impossible for them to "roam like at home" tariffs to their customers.
The members of the coalition are also concerned about an insertion at the initiative of the European Commission referring to "other arrangements to address wholesale market problems". They claim that this could be used as a Trojan horse for the European Commission to accept or promote roaming alliances between large operators, or to postpone a review of the level of the wholesale roaming caps which Parliament requires by mid-2015.
They warn that the approach could see an overall rise in the cost of domestic tariffs to compensate for the additional costs of subsidizing roaming services.
The ITRE (Industry, Research and Energy) Committee of the European Parliament is expected to vote on the 18th of March, followed by a plenary vote on the 3rd of April.