Telcos cry foul on EU roaming rules

Phone companies claimed that an EU plan to end fees for receiving a call on a mobile phone abroad was a "regulatory straitjacket" that could force them to offer services at a loss, an Associated Press report said.

The report said the European Commission would come out next month with a draft law that would stop firms from charging customers for receiving calls when abroad and set an EU-wide price cap for making calls outside their home country.

The report said the maximum price limit for roaming included a 30% profit margin and replaced EU plans to see travelers who make calls when they are abroad pay the same price they would face at home.

But the GSM Association, which represented most of the world's mobile phone companies, said the forced abolition of the "receiving party pays" standard would cause some operators to stop offering roaming to all customers, the report said.

"They would otherwise make a loss," it said. "There is no justification for any operator to be forced by regulation to provide services below cost."

Phone companies made about 10 billion euros ($12 billion) a year from roaming charges in the EU, according to Commission figures, the report said.