Have you ever wondered in what ways the European Commission benefited consumers? The recent memo mentions many ways through which the EU consumers are enriched in the mobile data sector.
- "Made consumers happy: roaming price caps have delivered €15 billion in savings
- Made the market work more efficiently: forcing mobile “termination rates” to reflect costs has helped retail mobile prices to fall by 31-42% since 2006 and companies to focus on real value-added revenue streams.
- Delivered the standards on which the industry is built: the GSM standard and most of the 3G standards that have enabled a 250 billion a year industry were funded by EU research grants
- Delivered extra spectrum for new industry: 1000Mhz allocated so far, with plans for 1200 Mhz; facilitating spectrum sharing to maximise value of this scarce resource
- More flexibility: with contracts now limited to a maximum length of 24 months, an obligation to offer 12 month contracts, and the right to move your number to a new network with 24 hours' notice, consumers have better choices and companies have a better chance to compete for unhappy customers.
- Higher quality: Consumer contracts must give information about minimum service quality levels, driving up expectations and performance.
- Helped save lives with 112: a single (free) European emergency number, in partnership with the mobile industry, to call from your mobile.
- New funding in 2013 to develop 5G technology: another 50 million euros.
- Privacy protected: whether via new choices on accepting cookies, supporting the Do Not Track standard or reform of the EU’s overall data protection rules, the European Commission supports trust and privacy through informed consent.
- Mobile at the heart of the Digital Agenda: mobile is the future of the internet and the European Commission is its policy champion; mobile is a key factor in every element of the overall Digital Agenda effort from mHealth to Connected TV through to the European Commission’s plans for a Telecoms Single Market"
Do you agree with these statements? I happened to be teaching a class last week on, among others, roaming and mobile services and none of my students has even heard about 112. Not to mention that the privacy measures that were adopted on a European level are far from providing a harmonised, standardised protection of consumers' data online.