High-price operators to be shamed by EU regulator

Never one to avoid a fight, the combative EU Telecoms Commissioner, Viviane Reding, has threatened to name and shame operators that do not cut prices for roaming text messaging and wholesale data transmission by July 1.

Warning operators that her department will examine European mobile tariffs and publish the results on a website, Reding said she would submit regulations that could come into effect as early as the end of this year to ensure operators take note of her demands.

The EU Commissioner has taken issue with the roaming tariffs charged by operators for text messages and data downloads. She has called for the price of a text message sent outside of one's home country to be capped at 12 euro cents, down from the average of 29 cents in Europe. Looking at mobile data rates, Reding has pointed to some operators charging as much as €11, or US$17, per megabyte of data transmitted outside of their home country, but most charge €5 to €7, she said.

"These prices represent a cash cow, they are huge and cannot last," Reding said. "They are hampering the development of a service that could explode, and those who could create content."

In their defence Vodafone, Deutsche Telekom and KPN have already announced cuts in their data roaming prices.

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