Reding Attacks Again

12:20 PM -- European Commissioner Viviane Reding has lost patience with mobile operators and their "rip-off" roaming charges. After introducing a regulation last year that set price caps for voice roaming, she now wants to extend that regulation to SMS roaming. (See Reding Set to Rip Into Data Roaming, EC Tackles Data Roaming, and GSMA Responds to EC.)

In a press release issued today, president of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso, also weighed in on roaming, which shows just how politically charged this issue is. He stated:

    Europe's Single Market should be allowed to play its part, making sure that no borders re-appear on travellers' phone bills... I am particularly concerned by the high prices paid by consumers for text messages when they are travelling abroad. There is also a danger that European businesses are put off by non-transparent roaming costs for mobile data services.

As expected, Reding expressed dissatisfaction today with European mobile operators' inability bring down roaming prices themselves and said that the mobile industry "still hasn't got the message that credible price reductions are needed to avoid regulation." But she didn't say what the retail and wholesale price caps would be that she plans to impose on SMS roaming.

So, regulate is what she plans to do. She also said the Commission will look for ways to address the high prices of data roaming to avoid "bill shock."

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Unstrung

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