updated 04:55 pm EST, Tue January 29, 2008
Cheaper data roaming in EU
People are still paying too much for roaming data use in other countries, says Ofcom, the official regulator of media and telecommunications in the UK. The group is pressuring cellular carriers to reduce their charges within the European Union, which can sometimes be prohibitively expensive; Ofcom chief Ed Richards notes that last summer, the average roaming price for 1MB of data was £4.11. "It could cost tens of pounds to download a single PowerPoint presentation," Richards has told the Financial Times.
Richards is also opposed to high fees on roaming text messages, along with a common practice of charging for a full minute of voice when a person has only been talking for 20 seconds. Combined, these levies are said to increase cellular bills by 20 percent.
Ofcom's position -- backed by threats of legislation -- is supported by the European Commission, which last year drafted a law forcing cellular companies to lower their rates on roaming voice calls. The EC has also been concerned with data and text messaging, and may yet enforce legal restrictions in those areas.