The European Commission has denied that a delay is being contemplated to the current policy to end roaming rates in the EU.
Earlier in the week, two media reports said a leaked paper from the Italian presidency of the EU moderated the current stance on retail and wholesale rates.
“The Italians are not suggesting a delay to ending roaming charges,” the commission responded.
“They are just trying to move the other elements of the package forward as details of how to end roaming are worked out, it is normal that not every detail would be on paper at this stage.”
The Italian document made no mention of the 15 December 2015 end date proposed by the European Parliament, which was viewed as significant.
The Italian paper also seemed to contain a new measure – a fair use allowance for roaming. If a user exceeded the allowance then they would be charged extra, which was presented as a concession to operators.
“The existence of a ‘fair use’ clause is not a loophole – it has always been in the proposal and does not mean you would pay extra to roam except in extreme circumstances, and even then that clause would only exist temporarily,” added the commission.
The commission said all three EU institutions – commission, parliament and national governments – are united in calling for an end to roaming charges.
“They will soon begin negotiations on how to end them,” it said. Negotiations are expected to be completed this year.
Finally, the commission denied a link between roaming income and broadband investment.
“Even if roaming was ten times as expensive there still would not be nearly enough roaming income to pay for those upgrades. Meanwhile current roaming income is not used to pay for those upgrades – it is mostly used to pay dividends to shareholders.”