Less than a week after the European Commission enforced regulations requiring mobile operators to further cut roaming tariffs within the EU, Commissioner Neelie Kroes has said Brussels will now move to end what she termed “roaming rip-offs.” Speaking at a press conference at the Commission headquarters on Wednesday, Kroes announced a “fundamental new approach” that would increase competition in the market and lower prices for consumers.
Indian operator Airtel, which operators in 20 markets across Africa and Asia has extended its One Network on-net charging policy to its Asian markets. The One Network policy of charging domestic rates to subscribers while on Airtel networks irrespective of country was already established in Africa. Airtel inherited the policy from Zain when it acquired Zain’s African portfolio in 2010.
Wednesday’s European Commission announcement on proposed changes to mobile roaming tariffs will effectively end the EU mobile roaming market as it stands today. According to Informa senior analyst Paul Lambert, the Commission’s proposed requirement that operators open their networks to other providers has “consigned to history the bi-lateral approach to striking roaming wholesale agreements which has been in place since the advent of GSM.”
European mobile operators will once again be obliged to cut roaming tariffs in line with EU regulations that were first introduced in 2007. As of Friday, July 1, consumers opting for the EU-regulated “Eurotariff” will pay no more than 35c per minute for calls made and 11c per minute for calls received while roaming in the EU.