Representatives from EU member states approved an EC mobile roaming fair use policy, leaving only the issue of wholesale charges to be resolved before legislation can be passed to end consumer surcharges by June 2017.
Yesterday’s vote cleared fair use policies clarified by the Commission last week, which state consumers should be able to use their mobile devices without any caps while travelling in the European Union (EU), subject to defined “proportionate checks for abuses” by their operator.
Now this section of the regulation has been approved, the EC will turn its attention to negotiations with the European Parliament and member states on the level of wholesale pricing caps, which need to be defined before proposals to end roaming charges within Europe can be adopted.
The EC is working to a deadline of mid-June next year to remove all consumer roaming charges, but the wholesale rate – charged by operators to each other – remain a point of debate.
The main sticking point is the charge for data services with different price caps suggested by members of the European Parliament and The European Council in recent weeks. The figures tabled differ from the original fees proposed by the EC in June.
EC VP Andrus Ansip and EC Commissioner Gunther H Oettinger made a joint statement following yesterday’s closed debate by member states praising the fair usage decision and reiterating their determination to find a solution to the wholesale issue.
“To definitively consign roaming charges to history, we now have to focus our efforts on the proposal on wholesale prices operators charge each other while consumers use their mobile phones abroad,” the pair stated.
“We are starting the negotiations with the European Parliament and the member states this week. To reach this last milestone, the Commission will continue to play its role of honest broker to help find a final agreement as soon as possible. There is no time to waste.”