updated 03:40 pm EDT, Thu September 23, 2010
EU to minimize mobile roaming price gaps
The European Union's telecoms chief is calling the high roaming fees charged by European carriers an "outdated concept" and says work will continue on reducing them. According to a Thursday report, Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes blames the issue on a lack of competition.
Speaking at a European Telecommunications Network Operators Association conference, Kroes said the earlier caps proposed by predecessor Viviane Reding need to be looked at and reviewed in their entire context. In her past post as EU competition commissioner, Kroes fined companies billions of Euros for breaking antitrust rules.
Kroes said the ideal situation would involve price differences between voice, text and data based only on the actual cost of providing said services.
"I will assess the structural, economic and legal barriers to such a true single market and I am not afraid to propose the necessary measures to overcome these," she said.
She continued, saying the gap between domestic pricing and roaming should be near zero, and will try to accomplish this without resorting to posting another price barrier.
European carriers have often vocally objected to any limits on their roaming rates as they claim it costs more to route calls between countries, but they have been unsuccessful to date in justifying rate differences that have sometimes led to travelers being charged thousands of euros for what would have cost nothing extra at home.