EU telecoms commissioner Viviane Reding has confirmed plans to impose price caps on SMS and data roaming within the EU, a move criticised by many European mobile operators. According to the Financial Times, Reding proposes a price cap on sending a cross-border text message of €0.11, which compares to a current average cost of €0.29, and a wholesale cap of €1 per megabyte of data, compared to an average €2 per megabyte currently. The measures still need approval by the European Parliament and EU member states, but Reding is reportedly aiming to have her proposals implemented by July next year. “It is high time that consumers can experience the results of this single EU market in the telecoms field,” Reding warned. “Roaming charges must be justified… or they will disappear.”

Commenting on the development, Eric Debroeck, Orange’s senior vice-president responsible for regulatory affairs, told the Financial Times: “The European Commission has acknowledged the emerging and developing nature of the data roaming market, but we regret the lack of coherence of the proposal which imposes a safeguard tariff at the wholesale level.” The report notes that Reding also confirmed her intention to extend the current pricing cap regulations on cross border voice roaming within the EU by a further three years to 2013, by which time the price should have fallen to €0.34 per minute from around €0.46 per minute currently.