updated 01:55 pm EST, Tue January 31, 2012
New proposal would further cut Euro roaming costs
The European Union continues its battle against high operators and their high roaming rates. The new measures, headed up by German politician Angelika Niebler, are calling for even steeper reductions, Reuters found. Compared to the reductions outlined last year by European Commissioner Neelie Kroes, who called for a one-minute call costing 24 cents when abroad in Europe, the new law would price the same cost at 15 cents.
Web surfing costs would be reduced from 50 cents per megabyte to 20. These changes, if approved, would likely annoy the providers, who typically make five percent of their sales and seven percent of their operating profit from such roaming fees.
The proposal will be debated in courts over the next few months, though the aim is to phase it in over the course of three years, starting this year.
Last year, Kroes' proposal involved two ways to cut down costs: one involved capping costs for texts, calls, and data usage while abroad, and the other would give users a choice of local providers when not in their home country. These would start coming into effect by July of this year, with more cuts scheduled for 2013 and 2014.
Niebler's idea would cut the per-minute charge and a text message charge to 5 cents by 2014, or half of what Kroes' proposal would. Currently, caps prevent providers from charging more than 35 cents per minute for outgoing calls and 11 cents per minute for incoming calls while outside of their home country. There are no restrictions for data use charges.