EU gives operators chance to reduce roaming rates

The European Union said it is giving Europe's mobile operators another six months to significantly drop the cost of using a mobile phone abroad before they face pricing restrictions that would cap retail profits at 30 percent, significantly lower than current prices. The move comes amid intense lobbying from Europe's operators, who make some hefty revenues from roaming rates charged abroad and throughout Europe.

"Our analysis shows that very high international mobile roaming charges currently affect at least 147 million European Union citizens," said European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso. "We have no alternative but to intervene to protect the interest of consumers." The GSM Association came out flying, arguing that operators have already brought prices down through competition. Despite the GSMA's argument, there is little evidence to suggest operators were cutting roaming costs prior to the EU's threat to bring prices down.

To read more about the EC's proposals to cap roaming rates:
- take a look at this article from telecoms.com
- read this report from The Wall Street Journal (sub. req.)

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