Lower roaming prices as of 1st July

From 1 July EU mobile operators will again be required to lower retail prices for roaming calls in line with EU rules first introduced in 2007. Consumers opting for the EU-regulated “Eurotariff” will pay no more than 35 cents (32 pence) per minute for calls made and 11 cents (10 pence) per minute for calls received while abroad in the EU.

Neelie Kroes, European Commission Vice President for the Digital Agenda said: “These new price caps will temporarily reduce retail prices for making and receiving voice calls when in another EU country during the coming year. But we have to tackle roaming problems at the root with a long lasting structural approach.”

This is the last in the series of regulated price cuts under the current EU Roaming Regulation which expires on 30 June 2012. Next week the Commission will publish proposals for long-term solutions to address the underlying lack of competition in the markets for voice, text and data roaming.

On 30 June 2010 the Commission published a report (see IP/10/851) indicating that, while such price cuts have temporarily reduced roaming prices during the regulated period, the current rules did not solve the underlying problem of lack of competition in roaming services and prices remained stubbornly close to the retail caps.

This creates the need for a new regulatory intervention with a view to meeting, in a durable way, the target set in the Digital Agenda for Europe (see IP/10/581, MEMO/10/199 and MEMO/10/200) that the difference between roaming and national telecoms tariffs should approach zero by 2015. Such a target will be met if competition in mobile markets gives consumers a rapid and easy choice of roaming service at, or close to, a relevant competitive domestic price level. For this purpose, the Commission will be presenting very shortly a proposal for a long-term solution to the structural problems in the markets for voice, text and data roaming.

The maximum retail prices (excl VAT) for roaming calls will be reduced during the period 1 July 2011 to 30 June 2012. They will fall from the current 39 cents to 35 cents per minute for calls made and from 15 cents to 11 cents per minute for calls received.

For non-eurozone countries, the amount will be calculated based on the exchange rate published in the EU’s Official Journal as of 1 June 2011 (0.88705).

Member States’ national telecoms regulators must ensure that mobile phone operators comply with the new rules on data roaming and the lower prices of voice calls. Consumers can contact the national regulator in the Member State where their mobile operator is based if they have any problems or questions about the new limits.

From 1 July 2011 the cap for data roaming wholesale prices (the price which operators charge each other) will fall to 50 cents (45 pence) per MegaByte (down from 80 cents – 71 pence – per MB). The current Regulation does not establish a retail price cap for data services.

Consumers and business travellers will continue to be protected from unexpected “bill shocks” for downloading data over mobile networks as monthly bills for data downloading are limited to €50 (£45) unless the customer explicitly agrees otherwise.

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