Reding hints at called party pays for Europe

EU telecoms commissioner Viviane Reding has sent shivers up the backs of European mobile operators by suggesting that she was not opposed to the called-party-pays business model. In an interview with the Financial Times Reding said that the European cellular market was continuing to develop and there was no reason to stick with existing pricing models just for the sake of it. She did temper her remarks somewhat by adding that business models were for operators to decide rather than the European commissioner. It has always been an article of faith amongst the European mobile community that the rapid development of the European cellular market was mainly due to the use of the calling-party-pays business model. The alternative business model has been standard in the U.S. since the inception of the mobile market and called-party-pays has also been widely adopted across Asia. European operators would try to suggest that the slower development of the U.S. market was due to the implementation of called-party-pays but in reality there is little to support this thesis. Technology issues and differing market conditions are probably the reasons behind the slower growth of the U.S. market which in any event is now catching up fast. Industry watchers believe this latest statement from Reding is part of the EU's ongoing drive to cut the cost of using mobile phones whilst traveling. Voice roaming charges for mobile phone users have already been capped and data charges are due to meet the same fate from July 1st. It is claimed that introducing called-party-pays would further reduce mobile phone charges to end users.

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