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May 4, 2007
It is looking increasingly unlikely that Europeans will be able to benefit from reduced roaming charges over the summer holiday period, after a key vote in the European Parliament was delayed.
European states and parliamentarians were due to vote on proposed roaming caps on May 10, next week.
But ironing out the finer details has proved problematic and the vote has been postponed until the week beginning May 21, meaning new rules may not come into force until July.
The latest compromise package put before parliament sets the maximum cost for an international call on a foreign network at Eur0.45 per minute, while the proposal for receiving a call is Eur0.20 per minute.
But the EU member states, represented by Germany, are understood to be angling more for proposed caps of Eur0.60 and Eur0.30 pre minute. Some governments argue that the European Commission’s proposal is so low, operators would end up increasing the price of domestic tariffs.
There is also some dispute over the parliamentarians opt in proposal, which would automatically ensure all consumer benefit from reduced roaming charges. A number of the member states however are favouring an option that would require consumers to sign up for the reduced rates.
Any further delays in the process could postpone the introduction of cheaper roaming rates until most of the summer holidaying season is over.
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