EU commission drafts proposal to ban mobile roaming charges

By on September 6, 2013, 6:00 PM
europe, wireless carriers, roaming, roaming charges, eu commission

Wireless roaming charges could soon be a thing of the past in Europe if a leaked draft of legislation is to be believed. Apparently European commission vice president Neelie Kroes is hell-bent eliminating the fees she claims are a cash cow for operators and a disproportionate irritant for travelers.

The only option it seems would be for carriers to offer customers a flat rate for voice, text and data service both at home and when traveling across Europe. A draft document seen by the Guardian notes this will be accomplished by using airline-style alliances in countries where operators do not own a network. Such alliances would be required to cover at least 85 percent of the European population as well as 21 member states.

Naturally, the proposal has been met with fierce opposition from the nation’s largest networks including Orange, Telefonica and Vodafone. Doing away with roaming fees would cost the networks an estimated €7bn (£5.9bn) ($9.2 billion), they claim.

The commission is reportedly set to endorse the draft on September 11. Member states are expected to meet next month to mull over the plan. Additionally, the European parliament would also need to approve the legislation.

Have you ever traveled outside of your home country and had to use your mobile phone? If so, what sort of fees did you incur or did you plan ahead and purchase an international roaming package beforehand?




User Comments: 10

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Sochsun Sochsun said:

As one who occasionally travels to the US from Canada, I try to avoid using my phone as much as possible when south of the border. Free Wireless where I can find it, SMS using other programs when on wireless, and staying mostly to email. Data is right out of the question, and SMS only when I absolutely need to. Having the ability to go around without having the roaming would be great. If it works over there, you never know, it could work in North America

MilwaukeeMike said:

As one who occasionally travels to the US from Canada, I try to avoid using my phone as much as possible when south of the border. Free Wireless where I can find it, SMS using other programs when on wireless, and staying mostly to email. Data is right out of the question, and SMS only when I absolutely need to. Having the ability to go around without having the roaming would be great. If it works over there, you never know, it could work in North America

Same for me, but I go to Canada from the US. My wife gets upset with me for telling her 6 times to make sure her roaming is turned off cause the charges rack up really fast.

The problem is though, if the carriers make a lot of money off it, they'll have to find a new place to make the money if it's deemed illegal to charge for roaming. That'll just mean higher monthly rates. People think this'll be a good thing, but for those who don't travel, it'll just mean higher costs with no benefit.

Railman said:

As one who occasionally travels to the US from Canada, I try to avoid using my phone as much as possible when south of the border. Free Wireless where I can find it, SMS using other programs when on wireless, and staying mostly to email. Data is right out of the question, and SMS only when I absolutely need to. Having the ability to go around without having the roaming would be great. If it works over there, you never know, it could work in North America

Same for me, but I go to Canada from the US. My wife gets upset with me for telling her 6 times to make sure her roaming is turned off cause the charges rack up really fast.

The problem is though, if the carriers make a lot of money off it, they'll have to find a new place to make the money if it's deemed illegal to charge for roaming. That'll just mean higher monthly rates. People think this'll be a good thing, but for those who don't travel, it'll just mean higher costs with no benefit.

Not necessarily as scrapping roaming charges would increase use of mobile phones abroad on which the companies would make more revenue. Frankly mobile phone companies are dishonest because they often make a fortune in other ways. In Britain most of the banks use phone numbers which are often free from a landline, however use your mobile and the charge can be at a higher rate than an International phone call!

1 person liked this | Guest said:

What part of EUROPEAN UNION didn't you guys read?

Guest said:

The cost of calling in the US/Canada is nothing compared to what EU citizens pay. We are royally ripped off by the telecoms companies. In the UK the situation is even worse, with most operators lagging well behind the rest of the world in terms of speed and cost.

We have no notion of free local calls either (mobile phones are not geographical in EU) so if the EU are to ban roaming charges, then we are on something of a level playing field. Boohoo if Vodafone execs wont be getting another gold arse-scratcher this month. Who cares.

MilwaukeeMike said:

What part of EUROPEAN UNION didn't you guys read?

What part of " If it works over there, you never know, it could work in North America" did you not read? (Last line in the first post). He was being hypothetical and so was I.

Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I was visiting Indonesia not long ago, and after a week I came back to a $5,000 bill from T-mobile. I only used my phone twice during that time, and both times were emergencies. Certainly, I didn't talk long enough at $6/minute to rack up a bill like that, either. Needless to say, I told T-Mobile where they could cram the bill after they refused to dismiss the charges, and I switched carriers. Now, when I go to another country, I buy a disposable phone in the country I'm visiting, and if I need to make international calls I'll use Skype.

As to whether I think roaming charges should be banned? I don't know about that, but they definitely should be more reasonable.

1 person liked this | SalaSSin said:

As to whether I think roaming charges should be banned? I don't know about that, but they definitely should be more reasonable.

Here in Europe you change countries every few hours, when you drive by car... I can tell you it's quite frustrating not being able to use 3G while roaming, so my mails don't enter, and I can't use the navigation part of Google maps...

Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Here in Europe you change countries every few hours, when you drive by car... I can tell you it's quite frustrating not being able to use 3G while roaming, so my mails don't enter, and I can't use the navigation part of Google maps...

Yeah, that's something I had not considered being in the US. My comment was aimed more towards the USA, rather than the EU, but I can definitely see how that would be frustrating in your case.

hahahanoobs hahahanoobs said:

As one who occasionally travels to the US from Canada, I try to avoid using my phone as much as possible when south of the border. Free Wireless where I can find it, SMS using other programs when on wireless, and staying mostly to email. Data is right out of the question, and SMS only when I absolutely need to. Having the ability to go around without having the roaming would be great. If it works over there, you never know, it could work in North America

Same for me, but I go to Canada from the US. My wife gets upset with me for telling her 6 times to make sure her roaming is turned off cause the charges rack up really fast.

The problem is though, if the carriers make a lot of money off it, they'll have to find a new place to make the money if it's deemed illegal to charge for roaming. That'll just mean higher monthly rates. People think this'll be a good thing, but for those who don't travel, it'll just mean higher costs with no benefit.

Not necessarily as scrapping roaming charges would increase use of mobile phones abroad on which the companies would make more revenue. Frankly mobile phone companies are dishonest because they often make a fortune in other ways. In Britain most of the banks use phone numbers which are often free from a landline, however use your mobile and the charge can be at a higher rate than an International phone call!

"Naturally, the proposal has been met with fierce opposition from the nation?s largest networks..."

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