As mentioned in the previous post, yesterday the European Commission presented its proposal for a long-term solution to the continued high cost of using mobile phones while travelling abroad, i.e. high roaming charges. What's the solution? Introduction of the Regulation that would allow consumers to separately contract for roaming services, independently from their national mobile services, while still using the same mobile phone number. Since this instrument would be directly binding in the Member States, consumers within EU should be able as of 1 July 2014 (proposed date of the introduction of the Regulation) to look for cheaper roaming services than what their national service provider is offering. That could boost competition (the lack of competition on the roaming market is seen as a main obstacle right now to setting fair prices) and make the market prices for roaming drop, accordingly to actual costs paid by mobile phone operators. Without activating operators to compete with each other within EU, the Commission may only temporarily reduce prices which has been done by the current Regulation of 2007 and which has not led to the expected effects. Still, in the meantime setting a cap on charges made to consumers is not a bad idea. That is what will happen until the 1st of July 2014: the roaming prices will be capped: roaming consumers would pay no more than 24 cents per minute to make a call, a maximum of 10 cents per minute to receive a call, a maximum of 10 cents to send a text message and a maximum of 50 cents per MB to download data or browse the Internet.
Another interesting consequences of the Regulation might be granting mobile phone operators rights to use networks of other operators in other Member States, to encourage the competition.