Vodafone says EU roaming fee cut illegal

Vodafone has branded moves by Brussels to regulate the cost of using a mobile phone abroad as illegal and threatened to consider legal action if the plans are not watered down, a report from the Daily Telegraph said.

The company, which runs the world's largest mobile phone network, was reacting to European Commission proposals to put strict limits on how much operators could charge customers for making or receiving international or national calls while in other member states, the report said.

"'We believe this whole initiative is illegal because the EU treaty protects companies and customers from arbitrary and unjustified regulation," a company official, requesting anonymity, said.

The mobile industry has vowed to step up lobbying efforts with member states and the European Parliament, which will have to approve the proposals put forward by telecom commissioner Viviane Reding.

However, Vodafone refused to rule out taking the matter to the European Court of First Instance if the proposals had not changed significantly by the time they become law, the report said.

Reding wants to cap wholesale charges, the fees that networks levy on each other for processing roaming calls.