MVNOs say wholesale roaming price caps still too high

Wholesale roaming caps in the EU are still too high, even after the big cut planned for 15 June, according to industry group MVNO Europe. The association of MVNOs said it supports the introduction of ‘roam-like-at-home’ in the EU, and its members are implementing the ‘free’ roaming for customers.

 

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However, as the group warned previously, the still-high wholesale roaming price caps may lead to many providers seeking derogations from RLAH and still applying surcharges for roaming. The industry group called for the European Commission to conduct an in-depth analysis of the impact of the end of roaming fees.

Roaming coalition: covers more than 70 million SIM cards across Europe and represents pro-competitive MNOs such as Free, H3G, RCS&RDS and Play, MVNO Europe members (including Cubic Telecom, Cyta Hellas, Euro Information Telecoms, Fastweb, Liberty Global (incl. VirginMedia UK and IE), PosteMobile, Sierra Wireless, Sky, Transatel, Ventocom and Voiceworks), and other MVNOs CoopVoce and TalkTalk.

The effective introduction of roam-like-at-home in Europe depends on a review, by the European Commission, of the wholesale roaming market. Such a review is crucial to allow all operators to fairly compete with each other and for smaller players to continue to offer price-competitive, innovative offers to European consumers and businesses.

As European wholesale international roaming charges are currently unjustifiably higher than domestic wholesale prices, the review should radically reduce the levels of the current regulated wholesale roaming caps set in the 2012 Roaming Regulation (the maximum prices an operator has to pay to the visited network operator when its users are roaming abroad). Without any further steep reduction of the regulated wholesale caps, a large number of mobile operators may decide or be forced to impose restrictions to users when roaming abroad through complex and unfriendly contractual clauses. This would be a disappointing outcome for European users, and it should be avoided at all costs. It would also go against the European Parliament’s repeated calls to end roaming surcharges once and for all.

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