Light Reading
Mobile giants to suffer as EC plans to give competitive operators equal footing in Europe's multi-billion voice and data roaming market

Regulators Reshape Europe's Roaming Market

Michelle Donegan
LR Mobile News Analysis
Michelle Donegan
7/6/2011
50%
50%

The European Commission on Wednesday proposed new regulation that would force mobile operators to open their networks to other service providers as a way of introducing competition and reducing prices in the mobile roaming market in Europe. (See EC Proposes More Data Roaming Cuts.)

The proposal comes just days after new roaming price caps came into effect across the region, and it is the most radical move the European policymaker has made to bring down the cost of using voice, SMS and data services while abroad. (See EU Roaming Prices Cut Again.)

Under the new proposal, from July 1, 2014, users will be able to subscribe to a cheaper international roaming service from an alternative provider while using the same SIM card and mobile telephone number they have with their national provider in their home market. To achieve this, the EC will mandate that mobile operators must provide access to their networks on a regulated wholesale basis to any potential alternative roaming service providers. The proposed regulation will also introduce a retail price cap for data roaming for the first time, which will be set at €0.90 (US$1.30) per megabyte from July 1, 2012 and fall to €0.50 (US$0.70) per megabyte by July 2014. A wholesale data roaming price cap has been in place since July 2009.

Such structural measures will get at the root cause of "roaming rip-offs, namely lack of competition," said Neelie Kroes, vice president of the European Commission's Digital Agenda, during a press conference in Brussels on Wednesday.

Up to now, the European Commission's response to high roaming charges has been to introduce wholesale and retail price caps. But Kroes said these measures have only treated the symptoms of high prices.

"I'm sorry to say that we have been forced to conclude that the market has not moved on," said Kroes. "Competition is still very weak. Customers still get a raw deal when they cross borders. Operators still enjoy outrageous margins, particularly on data downloads."

One of the goals of the European Commission's Digital Agenda is for there to be virtually no difference between the cost of roaming and national tariffs by 2015.

The proposed regulation must be accepted by the European Council and European Parliament before it can come into force. Kroes said she hoped the regulation would be adopted before the current roaming rules expire, which is June 2012.

Why this matters
This regulation will hit European mobile operators hard. Not only will they have a new retail data roaming price cap to contend with, they will also have potentially much more competition for delivering international services.

It's also the most invasive approach the European Commission has proposed to combat the problem of high roaming charges. (See Euronews: EC's Kroes on the Warpath (Again).)

For more
International roaming tariffs have plagued the European mobile scene for years. And the issue of data roaming has kicked off in the U.S. as well:



— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Light Reading Mobile

(3)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Michelle Donegan
50%
50%
Michelle Donegan,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:37:50 PM
re: Regulators Reshape Europe's Roaming Market


The EC's Neelie Kroes (aka Steely Neelie) made some progress on her plans for new roaming rules. A preliminary agreement has been reached with the EU Parliament and Council and they're expected to approve the new rules in May and June, respectively.


http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=MEMO/12/227&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en


 


That means the new rules would come into force in July this year. 


So are mobile operators ready?


 

DavidCooper
50%
50%
DavidCooper,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:00:04 PM
re: Regulators Reshape Europe's Roaming Market




It's about time the European Commission learnt some basic economics. Mobile operators are like any other business, and need to make a certain return on capital to attract continuing investment. Competition in the mobile industry is intense, and any margin lost on roaming charges will have to be recovered elsewhere.

Forcible reductions on roaming charges will lead to higher charges elsewhere, probably for domestic calls. It’s no coincidence that some leading beneficiaries of this measure will be expatriate Eurocrats working in Brussels- who make lots of roaming calls to family and friends- and who already benefit from fat salaries and favourable tax treatment. How dare the European Commission force ordinary consumers to subsidise these privileged bureaucrats.




miar70
50%
50%
miar70,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:59:33 PM
re: Regulators Reshape Europe's Roaming Market


So does this mean that North American subscribers will be able to choose between roaming providers when they travel to Europe or are they exempt because the home subscription is outside of the EU ?


I for one would welcome anything that reduces my wonderful $100 for 25MB ($4/MB) price gouge from my current service provider. Anything around a $1 looks very appealing !


No, I am not a Eurocrat on a fat salary, just a telco employee who has to travel for work and is tired of getting ripped off all the time. I'd welcome some price competition.

The reality is that the cost of airtime is the same between a roaming subscriber and a non-roaming subscriber. I'm not familiar with the inter-operator cost over GRX (but I suspect someone here is), but I doubt that the wholesale price is more than the retail price of the local market, which means that roaming subs are actually subsidising retail subs. Happy to be proved wrong if someone wants to shed more light on it :)

Flash Poll
From The Founder
It's clear to me that the communications industry is divided into two types of people, and only one is living in the real world.
LRTV Interviews
From 4G to 5G: Alcatel-Lucent's Dave Geary

11|25|14   |   09:09   |   (1) comment


Dave Geary, President of Wireless at Alcatel-Lucent, talks about the evolution of the 4G market, small cells, partnerships, 5G and the IoT.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Building a Secure Telefonica Network With Huawei's High-End Firewall

11|24|14   |   4:37   |   (0) comments


Andrew Davies, IP architect of the Telefonica, a leading digital communications company, discusses the Huawei security gateway solution and putting the solution into the testbed.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Partners with Spirent to Verify CE12816's 10GE Port & TRILL Networking Capabilities

11|24|14   |   2:50   |   (0) comments


Spirent Communications is the world's leading supplier for telecom testing appliances and solutions. Spirent has been in a close partnership with Huawei for a long time.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Saudi Airlines & Its ICT Transformation

11|24|14   |   2:07   |   (0) comments


In this video, Saudi Airlines discusses its network problems and how Huawei's Agile Network is its all-in-one solution.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Agile Switch Benefiting Saudi Arabia's Yamamah Hospital

11|24|14   |   2:40   |   (0) comments


Saudi Arabia's Yamamah Hospital speaks about how Huawei's Agile Switch has improved the medical service's network infrastructure.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
FanPlay & Huawei Build a Wireless Agile Smart Stadium

11|24|14   |   2:13   |   (0) comments


FanPlay is a cloud-based white label service, which is effectively a football fan engagement platform underpinned by mobile payment technology.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Building an Agile Stadium

11|24|14   |   3:54   |   (0) comments


Stadiums may be thousands of tons of concrete and steel, but they now need to be agile. Being at the stadium may not be as alluring as it once was. Sports franchises and stadium operators discuss how to get fans back.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Helps ChinaCache Tackle Challenges in the Internet Industry

11|24|14   |   3:09   |   (0) comments


ChinaCache is China's largest content distribution network supplier. Huawei's CE12800 has provided ChinaCache with very strong support in its establishment of an infrastructure network.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Cefinity on Managed Security Services & Next-Generation Firewall

11|24|14   |   7:05   |   (0) comments


Cefinity is a cloud management service provider in Southeast Asia. Ivan Zhang, CEO of the company, discusses the implementation of security service management in the cloud era.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Agile Gateway in the Eyes of Cefinity

11|24|14   |   2:11   |   (0) comments


Cefinity is a managed service provider for enterprise networks. The company currently uses Huawei's AR series routers for the most complete range of functions. CEO Ivan Zhang speaks about the advantages of the AR series routers.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
CTO of Bus-Online Talks About Huawei's Agile Gateway

11|24|14   |   2:53   |   (0) comments


Bus-Online covers around 100 million users everyday. In addition to providing mobile TV, and advertising services to the public, Bus-Online has also entered the field of mobile Internet.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Amsterdam ArenA as an Agile Campus

11|24|14   |   3:31   |   (0) comments


The Amsterdam ArenA, home of the Ajax soccer team, can be a crowded space. ArenA has partnered with Huawei to work on bringing ample bandwidth to 53,000 people at the same time.
Upcoming Live Events
December 2, 2014, New York City
December 3, 2014, New York City
December 8-10, 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland
February 10, 2015, Atlanta, GA
April 14, 2015, New York City, NY
May 6, 2015, McCormick Convention Center, Chicago, IL
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Infographics
Irish Telecom outlines the rise of VoIP technology, including its adoption within businesses and their perception of its quality.
Hot Topics
$38.3M: Ain't That a Kik in the SMS
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 11/20/2014
Do You Have a 2020 Vision?
Dennis Mendyk, Vice President of Research, Heavy Reading, 11/21/2014
$35B+ Spectrum Auction Dings Verizon, Shines Dish
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 11/24/2014
Operators Should Block Ads to Get Their Cut, Startup Says
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 11/24/2014
The New Wave of IP + Optical Integration
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 11/21/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed