The European Commission withdrew its proposed fair use policy on roaming, which would allow users to access services across its borders at domestic prices for at least 90 days per year, in the face of opposition.
The draft was withdrawn on the instruction of EC president Jean-Claude Juncker, according to a terse statement, which adds the commission is working on a new version.
The fair use policy was only published on Monday (5 September) . Today’s statement gives no timeline for when a replacement will appear.
Financial Times suggested that the proposal bit the dust because of opposition from consumer groups at the 90-day minimum figure.
The groups argued there should be a complete abolition of roaming, even though, as the commission’s document pointed out, 90 days covers virtually all the needs of EU consumers travelling for holidays or business. The average European travels for 12 days per year, the statement said.
Moreover, the 90-day minimum offered protection to operators who might otherwise have been the subject of arbitrage.
If roaming was completely abolished, users could buy a SIM in another EU country where prices are lower to use at home. Or customers could move abroad with a domestic subscription from their home country.
The Commission argued such scenarios could have negatively impacted operator’s domestic revenue and, hence, their investment plans.
However, said the FT, EC officials were dismayed at the negative media coverage the proposal generated, and so have responded by withdrawing it.