Over the last weeks, the debate in Brussels has heated up concerning the new EU roaming regulation. Sadly, many of the arguments brought forward by lobbyists and many of the proposed changes are just utterly wrong.

The European Commission proposed structural solutions that would allow users to choose different – cheaper – operators for roaming services. This is the right approach and would finally create a competitive market for roaming and drive down prices.

However, this will only work if this new market also allows new market entrants to make attractive offers. And this is exactly where the European Commission and the European Parliament must take decisive action. The real costs for providing roaming services are low – no more than 1€ per GB for example.

In light of this, the price caps proposed by the European Parliament for “wholesale” network access for operators and for retail prices (up to 200€ per GB!) are still much too high to encourage any kind of competition. Users would still be forced to pay up to 25 times more for using their phones abroad than at home and small operators would not be able to offer lower prices. Therefore, the Parliament must endorse even lower price caps for roaming: no more than 10ct per MB for data, no more than 11ct for calls made and free receiving of calls.

European politicians have long promised us prices for roaming services that are near domestic rates. Now they have to practice what they preach and actually drive prices down. European mobile phone users will not accept anything less.


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