Reding issues ultimatum against high data roaming fees

The European Union's Telecoms Commissioner Viviane Reding threatened to take regulatory measures if mobile operators fail to further reduce the prices for sending data and SMS messages abroad this month.

'SMS roaming prices are now at 0.28 euro (US$.43), down from 0.29 euro (US$0.44) per roamed SMS in January. I am not impressed by this,' Reding, quoted by a Xinhua News report, said after a meeting of EU telecoms ministers in Luxembourg.

'If there's not a miracle happening by July 1, I will come up with a regulation,' she added.

Reding said she won strong support from the telecoms ministers for her plan at the meeting.

Her ultimatum came nearly one year after she introduced an EU- wide roaming regulation, which slashed charges for making mobile phone calls abroad by as much as 60%.

The regulation, which entered into force on June 30, set the first year cap for outgoing calls made abroad at 0.49 euro (US$0.75) per minute before sales tax and at 0.24 euro (US$0.36) for receiving calls abroad.

However, prices for text messages, or SMS, and data roaming services are currently not regulated in the EU.