New roaming rules increase competition

Traveller using his mobile phone while waiting for the train

“I am very proud that we were able to reach a progressive agreement that leads to even better quality and service for European citizens”, said Angelika Winzig MEP, the European Parliament's chief negotiator for the new roaming rules for mobile networks.

This evening, a decisive agreement was reached between EU Member States and the European Parliament on the revision of the Roaming Regulation in order to extend the current rules for the upcoming 10 years.

“Simply prolonging the current Roaming Regulation has never been my ultimate goal. My eyes have always been on making significant improvements for the consumers”, said Winzig, while also highlighting the benefits for the operators. “We are creating more fairness on the roaming market, especially focusing on smaller operators by significantly cutting the wholesale caps”, she underlined.

Wholesale caps are the maximum prices that operators charge each other when consumers use other networks while roaming. These caps are essential to make the roam-like-at-home principle sustainable for operators, especially for smaller mobile network operators that are not part of a big pan-European group.

The European Commission’s original law proposal already saw the need for a gradual reduction of the caps, but was not progressive enough to reflect market realities. Data volumes have been increasing steadily over the past years and it gets more and more difficult for smaller operators to offer roam-like-at-home services because of the costs they are being charged by other network providers. These developments can have negative effects on competition and therefore on prices consumers pay and the quality they get, even on their domestic networks.

“I am very happy that we succeeded in ensuring new EU rules that improve competition and quality of service while also providing enough flexibility to react to new developments in the telecom and technological sectors. This way, the European Union will constantly have its finger on the pulse of the evolving market realities”, explained Winzig.

Today's informal agreement still needs the formal approval of Parliament and EU Member States.

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The EPP Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 177 Members from all EU Member States

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