Mobile Roaming Fees Down 60% in Europe

The EU Roaming Regulation came into force this summer and the European Commission is claiming a big success

The European Commission has hailed its efforts to reduce rip-off mobile roaming rates as a success, claiming consumer prices having fallen by up to 60 per cent since new regulations came into force.

The EU Roaming Regulation came into force in the summer, forcing mobile operators to introduce a cheaper 'Eurotariff' for roaming customers.

Research carried out by the 27 national telecom regulators which form the European Regulators Group (ERG) and the European Commission claims the introduction of Eurotariff is going to plan.

The research found mobile operators have generally complied with the requirement to offer a Eurotariff - where rates don't exceed €0.40 per minute for calls made abroad or €0.24 per minute for received calls.

By 30 August this year, around 200 million consumers had switched to a Eurotariff with many operators offering lower rates sooner than required.

Viviane Reding, the EU telecoms commissioner said the Eurotariff is now the standard rate for roaming, one of the aims of the EC's roaming regulation.

She said there are some remaining issues with the transparency of price offers but is convinced the national regulators will "take this in hand as soon as possible".

Going on data since 30 June the Commission predicts 400 million EU consumers will be on a Eurotariff by the end of September.

The lowest roaming tariffs are in The Netherlands, where rates are as low as 20 cents per minute for calls made and received. The Eurotariff is due to be reduced further in 2008 and 2009.

The Commission will also launch a study into the price of SMS and data roaming, with a report from the ERG expected in December.

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