December 5, 2016
Caps on the wholesale prices that telecoms operators charge each other for using their networks to carry cross-border “roaming” calls have been agreed by industry MEPs, thereby bringing the abolition of roaming charges for consumers a step closer.
Industry Committee MEPs have agreed the following caps:
- €0.03 for voice call, instead of the proposed €0.04;
- a gradually decreasing cap from €4 to €1 per gigabyte instead of €0.0085 per megabyte; and
- €0.01 for text messages, as proposed by the Commission.
The vote is another step towards the full abolition of retail roaming surcharges, which will enable consumers to use their mobile phones in other EU countries just like at home 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 legislative resolution was approved by 53 votes to five, with two abstentions.
In their amendments to the draft regulation, MEPs also strengthened the role of the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC), in assessing unfair competition cases and preparing regular reports. In its bi-annual reports, the Commission might include further amendments to the wholesale charges, “if appropriate”, MEPs agreed.
MEPs gave the rapporteur, Ms Kumpula-Natri, and Parliament’s negotiating team a mandate to negotiate with the Council in order to find an agreement. Any agreement will need to be voted by the both co-legislators before entering into force. To read the European Parliament’s press release in full, click here.