Roaming: MEPs vote to cap network wholesale prices
(BRUSSELS) - The end to mobile roaming charges came a step closer Tuesday when Members of the European Parliament voted to cap the wholesale prices telecoms operators charge each other for using their networks.
The full abolition of retail roaming surcharges will enable consumers to use their mobile phones in other EU countries just as they do in their home country without paying extra fees.
Wholesale roaming prices indirectly affect consumers' final bills. The agreed caps should instead enable telecoms operators to offer roaming services to their customers without any extra charges on top of the home market price.
The caps agreed by the Industry Committee MEPs were EUR 0.03 for voice call, instead of the proposed EUR 0.04; a gradually decreasing cap, from EUR 4 to EUR 1 per gigabyte instead of EUR 0.0085 per megabyte, and EUR 0.01 for text messages, as was proposed by the European Commission.
Miapetra Kumpula-Natri MEP, the rapporteur steering the legislation through Parliament, said the committee had given a strong mandate for negotiations with the EU Member States: "Our position has a single aim - delivering 'Roam Like At Home' to all Europeans. Setting price caps closer to real cost of providing roaming access will do just that, but will also pave the way for a true gigabyte society by enabling markets to deliver higher data consumption," she said.
"Consumers must benefit from competition from small and virtual telecoms operators too after next summer. All citizens must have access to digital services, which today means lower prices and bigger amounts of data", she added.
Any agreement will need to be voted by both the full Parliament and the EU Council before entering into force.