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Euronews: EC Imposes Data Roaming Cap

The European Commission , Telefónica SA (NYSE: TEF) and Vivendi offer us some Friday fare in today's trot through the EMEA headlines.

  • New regulation governing the cost of mobile roaming within the European Union has been passed by the European Parliament and is due to come into force on July 1, with a range of price caps being imposed, namely: 70 (€) cents per megabyte for data downloads; 29 cents per minute to make a voice call; 8 cents per minute to receive a call; and 9 cents to send a text message (all prices exclusive of VAT). The European Commission has also extended its anti-"bill shock" measures beyond the EU borders: Now, mobile users traveling outside the EU will have to be sent a warning text message, email or pop-up window when they are nearing €50 worth of data downloads, or their pre-agreed level. (See EC Tackles Mobile Data Bill Shock , EC Rejigs Roaming Rules, Regulators Reshape Europe's Roaming Market and EC Consults on Roaming Charges.)

  • Telefónica, meanwhile, has undercut the EU cap with its new pan-European data roaming tariff, which offers 25MBytes worth of data roaming for €2 (US$2.58) per day. As Telefónica is keen to point out, 25MBytes of data at the EU's mandatory maximum 70 cents per megabyte tariff would work out at €17.50 ($22.65). It will be interesting to see how the other pan-European operators respond as the holiday season gets into gear... (See Telefónica Intros Flat-Rate Data Roaming.)

  • Telefónica will be hoping its pan-European data wheeze takes off, as its first-quarter results show profits down 54 percent to €748 million ($968 million), as the slump in European revenues takes its toll. Telefónica's Latin American interests, however, continued to hold their end up. (See Telefónica Posts €748M Profit in Q1, Telefónica to Hatch Startups and Euronews: Layoff Costs Tear Into Telefonica's Q3 .)

  • The Netherlands has become only the second country in the world (after Chile) to enshrine the principles of "net neutrality" in legislation, reports Ars Technica. The new law requires companies offering access to the Internet to treat all Internet services equally, and was passed partly as a response to KPN's plan to make mobile users pay extra for data used by third-party apps such as Skype. (See Officials Say Europe's Telcos Block VoIP.)

  • Vivendi is hatching plans to slash costs at its SFR mobile subsidiary by as much as €450 million ($582 million), according to a report on Bloomberg. Job losses, a cut in marketing spend and tougher contracts with call centers could all be in the offing, as the operator tries to compete with low-cost rival Iliad (Euronext: ILD). (See Iliad Disrupts the French Mobile Scene .)

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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