Moves to toughen up EU roaming bill

European Union proposals for capping roaming charges, which are expected to severely impact operator revenues, could be toughened if one European MP gets his way. The legislation currently winding its way through the European Parliament will cap the cost of roamed text messages to 11 Euro cents from July, down from around 29 Euro cents at present. The cost of mobile data downloads will also be capped at one Euro per megabyte.

However, the Romanian Euro MP responsible for steering the bill through Parliament thinks that in some respects it does not go far enough. Adina-Ioana Valean says operators should not charge roaming customers for receiving voice mail messages in the same way as the new bill bans charging for receiving roamed SMS messages. Valean also wants to go further than EU telecoms commissioner Viviane Reding with regard to mobile data download charges. Instead of Reding's proposed one Euro per megabyte, Valean wants the wholesale price of roamed data to be capped at 0.0001 Euro cents per kilobyte. Given the complexity of the EU legislative process it is difficult to determine whether Valean's proposals will become law but predictably they have already been condemned by operators who feel the entire bill is too interventionist.

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