BELTUG/INTUG have remained very active in lobbying on roaming issues, which are a key concern for our members. Now, the EU has reached a preliminary agreement (1 p.) that addresses several of the problems our members face, in Europe and the rest of the world. It is expected to be approved by the European Parliament in May and would take effect in July.
Very positive - alerts mobile date: extension to the world
With the alert system now in force in the EU, when you travel outside of your country, you will receive an ‘alert’ message when you have reached a certain threshold of data downloads (e.g. 50 Euros). You can then decide to block your data roaming, to avoid bill shock. BELTUG/INTUG members reported positive effects.
The agreement will extend this alert system for people travelling outside the EU, as of 1 July 2012. As our members’ business doesn’t stop at the EU borders, this new rule will certainly help to control costs. INTUG pleaded for measures going further that the EU.
New: price caps for mobile data
We are pleased to see that the EU’s deal includes price caps for data that are lower than those first proposed by the European Commission. The first caps for mobile data will go into effect on 1 July 2012 (70 cents/MB), and will drop progressively through 1 July 2014 (20 cents/MB). 70 cents/MB is still very expensive, but surely a step in the right direction.
New: Choose your data roaming supplier: challenges for businesses
As of July 2014, mobile operators in the country you are visiting can offer you direct access to their own data networks (without changing number or SIM-card), giving the providers an incentive to offer you rates close to their ‘local’ rates.
While we welcome this move, we recognise it will also create new challenges for companies, as they want to make the choices centralised. BELTUG/INTUG will be looking into the practical aspects of this new options for companies.
BELTUG/INTUG welcome the EU decision to make further progress towards eliminating roaming charges. We urge governments and regulators throughout the world to follow this example, so that the consequent economic benefits for international trade can be enjoyed by business users not just within the EU but worldwide.
In the meantime, as businesses need worldwide solutions, INTUG continues to discuss roaming with the World Trade Organisation and OECD. We will also offer the knowledge we gain through events in the EU to our sister organisations in other parts of the world, as they lobby their own regulators and support their user groups.