Members of both the Danish Presidency of the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament have agreed this week to create lowered price caps on mobile data roaming charges. This will have an adverse affect on how willing business users will be to using their mobile phones when traveling from state to state and country to country, and may very well tip international governments to look into similar price-fixing for mobile carriers in their jurisdictions as well. New rules will be put into effect for the whole of the European Union once Parliament as a whole approves the deal, this expected soon with implementation set for July 1st.
Draft Legislation is reported to the press by Angelika Niebler of Germany, who noted that this “tackle” of high prices will include not just voice rates, but SMS messaging and mobile data as well. This move should provide more “consumer protection” and prevent bill shocks, Niebler noted. Niebler went on to say:
“The proposed price caps ensure a sufficient margin between wholesale and retail prices to assure a level of competition that will enable new players to enter the market.” – Niebler
These new rules will have the following rules set in place: 70 cents will be the max cost of a single megabyte download, with this price lowering to 45 cents in 2013 and 20 cents by the middle of 2014. Similarly, a one-minute phone call will not be allowed to exceed 29 cents, with that price lowering to 19 cents by 2014. SMS costs will be 9 cents at maximum per message, 6 cents by 2014.
These prices cut SMS costs down by 11 percent from current legislation and for calls this is a drop from the current 35 cent mark. For data there is currently no maximum cost currently written. Mike Disabato, managing vice president of network and telecom at Gartner noted the following on the situation:
“Mobile roaming charges in the EU are artificially high. Given the fact that they are trying to treat the entire continent like a single country, I don’t understand why mobile roaming charges are so high between countries. We got rid of roaming charges a long time ago. It’s about time they go in Europe. It will take until the EU decides they are going to make it happen.” – Disabato