Saturday, September 20, 2008

Europe - extending the roaming regulation

European Commission to cap price of sms while roaming

The European Commission will Tuesday propose capping the price of text messages sent by European Union customers while travelling elsewhere in the 27-member bloc, sources said Friday. The proposal will be based on a report by the European Regulators' Group (ERG), which has recommended ex-VAT price caps of between 0.11 euros and 0.15 euros (0.16-0.22 dollars) per short message (sms).

Sources familiar with the issue say the EU executive could call for a maximum Euro-SMS retail roaming tariff of 0.11 euros as from July 1, 2009.

This compares with a current average European price of 0.29 euros. Belgian customers are charged as much as 0.80 euros per sms while abroad.

The commission is also expected to set a maximum price for internet surfing roaming charges, which currently range from 0.25 euros to more than 16 euros per megabyte.

The EU executive is considering an average wholesale charge cap of 1 euro per megabyte.

"EU citizens should be free to text across borders without being ripped off," Media Commissioner Viviane Reding said in July.

Each year, EU customers send some 2.5 billion text messages while travelling abroad.

The commission has already succeeded in bringing down roaming charges for voice calls.

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