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Devices/smartphones

Euronews: Roaming Charges for the Chop

In today's regional roundup: Mobile roaming charges could become a thing of the past in Europe; there are high expectations of a Samsung reveal in Berlin this week; and we have more from Ericsson, Sigma Systems, Swisscom, and Hurricane Electric.

  • Roaming charges look set for the chop across European Union member states, if a Wall Street Journal report that cites a European Commission draft proposal is accurate. The EC wants mobile operators to form cross-border alliances that will extend local service packages into multiple EU markets. That looks great for consumers and businesses, but how would the operators make up for the shortfall in roaming revenue? Would visitors from outside the EU be hit with massive roaming tariff hikes?
  • Samsung Corp. is expected to unveil its smart watch and the Galaxy Note III at the IFA consumer electronics trade show in Berlin on Thursday, Sept. 5. The move looks very much like a spoiler ahead of Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL)'s expected unveiling of the iPhone 5S (and possibly the lower-end iPhone 5C) on Sept. 10. Richard Windsor, an industry analyst, has an interesting take on the implications for these and other device launches in his Radio Free Mobile blog.
  • Sigma Systems is getting some early payoff from its recent acquisition of the Service Provider Information Technology (SPIT) specialist Tribold: a product catalogue systems deal with Belgacom SA (Euronext: BELG). (See: Sigma Systems Snaps Up Tribold.)
  • Swisscom has introduced a direct carrier billing service that allows smartphone and tablet-wielding customers to charge app store purchases to their mobile bill, rather than using credit/debit cards or third-party payment services such as PayPal. The service does not include purchases from Apple. Customers can currently charge purchases from the Google Play Store, BlackBerry World, and the Facebook App Center. Later this month, they will be able to charge purchases from the Microsoft App Store, the Samsung App Store, and the Samsung Hub.
  • Vodafone Egypt has deployed Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC)'s Mobile Broadband Charging platform to allow prepaid and postpaid customers to personalize their mobile data use plans.
  • The IPv6 backbone service provider Hurricane Electric has opened a "point of presence" in Budapest, Hungary. (See: Taking the Fear Out of IPv6.)
  • The GSM Association (GSMA) has announced that Cisco CEO John Chambers will be among the keynote speakers at the 2014 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February. The theme of event, which is expected to attract 72,000 attendees, is "Creating What's Next."
  • — Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

    Carol Wilson 9/4/2013 | 4:38:34 PM
    Is EC hurting or helping? I understand the urge to protect consumers from roaming charges but you have to wonder if all the EC's pro-consumer regulations are really helping consumers in the long run. 
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