EU looks to halt per-minute billing 'abuse'

The policy of some European operators to round up mobile calls to the nearest minute has become the latest attention of focus for the telecoms bureau of the European Commission (EC).

The EC telecoms spokesman, Martin Selmayr, claims that this action by operators means high bills for users--on average 24 percent more than the minutes they actually use and 19 percent for calls received. "We see that consumers are charged more because in some cases operators are charging a call of one minute two seconds for two minutes."

Selmayr said the commission may address the problem when EU telecoms Commissioner, Viviane Reding, presents plans in four to six weeks time to tackle the cost of mobile phone calls made while abroad within the EU. "But this latest per-minute charging is an interesting and worrying phenomenon that the commission and national regulators have identified."

Suggestions that operators resorted to per-minute charging following the imposition of a roaming pricing cap 12 months ago have been denied by the GSM Association.

 For more on this story:
- go to Cellular News and AFP

Related article:
GSMA responds to Euro Commission proposals to regulate SMS roaming. EU story