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European Commission defines fair use policy in another step towards ending roaming charges

The European Commission today presented a draft for the implementing act to end mobile roaming charges, defining different measure to safeguard proper function

jeanelle_mifsud
Jeanelle Mifsud
5 September 2016, 1:03pm
The end of roaming charges will be secured via an obligation imposed to operators of mobile telecommunications not to levy any surcharge
The end of roaming charges will be secured via an obligation imposed to operators of mobile telecommunications not to levy any surcharge
The European Commission today presented a draft for an implementing act to end mobile roaming charges in June 2017.

The draft defined different measures ensure the proper functionality of the act, including a fair use policy preventing abusive usages.

“Abusive usages could be, for example, if the customer buys a SIM card in another EU country where domestic prices are lower to use it at home; or if the customer permanently stays abroad with a domestic subscription of his home country. Such situations could have a negative impact on domestic prices, and ultimately on all consumers,” the European Commission said in a statement.

The European Commission added that it proposed an approach in line with the needs of Europeans, based on the results of a public consultation.

“Customers should be able to roam at domestic prices for a total of at least 90 days per year. Frontier workers who log on at home every day cannot be considered to be engaged in anomalous, permanent roaming," it said. "For open mobile phone bundles, meaning those which have unlimited or very high volumes, roaming customers should be able to consume at domestic prices at least the average volume consumed by users on the bundle.”

Furthermore, the European Commission said that a mobile operator may apply a surcharge not exceeding the corresponding wholesale roaming caps in very specific situation. “Such situations would be very limited due to the proposed fair use policy,” the European Commission explained.

The European Commission proposed €0.04/min, €0.01/SMS, €0.85/MB as wholesale roaming caps, but this still has to be adopted by the European Parliament and member states in the current wholesale roaming review.

Before the European Commission can adopt the implementing act by 15 December this year, today's draft act will be discussed with member states, following consultations with the Body of European Regulators of Electronic Communications.

According to the European Commission, the end of roaming charges will be secured via an obligation imposed to operators of mobile telecommunications not to levy any surcharge in addition to the domestic retail price on a roaming customer in any member state for any roaming call made or received, for any roaming SMS message sent and for any data roaming services used. It added that member states' national telecoms regulators will be responsible of ensuring that mobile phone operators comply with the new rules on data roaming and the lower prices of voice calls.