Fabian Demicoli

Roaming cap for cross boarder calls and internet downloads

Previously considered a luxury due to high service fees, mobile telephony has become an essential part of everyday life. The widespread use of such a technological advancement and increase of mobile operators has led to decreases in charges. However, cross-border mobile services (also known as roaming) remain considerably higher despite the progression of the European internal market.

In response to such a price barrier, the European Commission successfully pushed for the introduction of a regulation pushing for the gradual reduction of voice roaming caps. The regulation, approved in 2009, also featured the adoption of guarantees against any bill shocks for data roaming users.

 

Although domestic pricing plans remain within the scope of national regulators, the European Commission has pushed for further decreases in pricing levels. On July 1, a new roaming cap addressing cross-border calls and internet downloads came into effect. Among the main price cap adjustments, data roaming will undergo a reduction from €1 to €0.80 cents per megabyte (MB), with the upward limits for making calls to be reduced by 4 cents to 39 cents per cents and receiving calls also being cut by 4 cents to 15 cents. Additional cuts to data roaming charges will be enacted next year as the cap is expected to be revised downward to 50 cents per MB.

Equally important, travellers' data roaming bills will be limited to €500 unless specified otherwise by customers. Users will also be informed by their operators once they reach 80% of their mobile data roaming plan. This is considered to be beneficial to European consumers and businesses due to the increased use of internet-enabled devices such as laptops and smart phones. Furthermore, the action taken to address pricing discrepancies plays a crucial role in the Digital Agenda Manifesto, with the document stating that "the difference between roaming and national tariffs should approach zero by 2015".

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