INTUG/BELTUG took part in the 4 December hearing on the Telecom Single Market at the European Parliament, with INTUG Chairman of the Board/ BELTUG General Manager Danielle Jacobs sitting on the panel addressing "Consumer and other end-users' rights".
During the discussion, she spoke about key business issues including harmonised business-grade access for last mile and 'international' versus 'roaming' voice and sms. The package proposed by Vice President Neelie Kroes aims towards a maximum rate for all voice and sms. Danielle explained in the panel that international mobile call and text costs are too high, and are sometimes inconsistent with roaming tariffs, due to a waterbed effect from tariff balancing. In some cases, it is far more expensive to make an international call than to make a roaming call to the same destination, because the EU cap on roaming tariffs only applies to calls or SMS made from abroad, not to abroad (these latter are considered simply ‘international’ calls or SMS).
She gave an example: "A user with a Belgian mobile number may pay 25 euro cents for an sms from Belgium to Spain, because this is considered by the operators as an ‘international’ sms. But the sms would only cost the same user with the same Belgian mobile number 8 euro cents if sent from Italy to Spain, because it would fall under the ‘roaming’ regulations. Therefore it is very important that international calls NOT be removed from the European Parliament’s proposals."
Based on her very pertinent comments, Danielle was asked to put together a 'note' for the use of rapporteur Pilar Del Castillo MEP; EPP ITRE Coordinator and EP Rapporteur. INTUG/BELTUG are very pleased to have the opportunity to assist in making the voice of the business user heard at all levels!