The Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) published guidelines for the retail charging of roaming services in the EU, including clauses where operators can continue to add a roaming surcharge.
Under the rules, which come into effect alongside new roaming legislation on June 15, operators will be able to apply to their national regulator for special permission to alter their charging model or add a small charge for roaming services to cover additional costs incurred.
BEREC pointed out this would only be approved in “specific and exceptional circumstances” to ensure the sustainability of a company’s domestic business model and would require detailed evidence.
Its rules state: “Roaming regulation stipulates that roaming providers, upon authorisation by the national regulatory authorities, should be able to apply a surcharge to the regulated retail roaming services only to the extent necessary to recover all relevant costs of providing such services.”
The impact of new roaming rules on domestic tariffs came under scrutiny earlier this month follwing reports Republic of Ireland operator 3 Ireland intended to introduce a specific roaming allowance on some of its unlimited data plans. The operator cited costs charged to it by European operators as the reason for the change.
Following the reports, the European Commission released a statement warning operators against attempting to circumvent regulations by changing tariffs to separate domestic and roaming allowances, or offering extra home market data services as a gift or side benefit.
Although not confirming the identity of the operator, Irish regulator ComReg is currently investigating contractual changes related to unlimited tariffs and roaming.