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EU proposes wholesale roaming rate cuts

 The European Union has proposed cutting the wholesale roaming rates that telecoms operators pay each other when customers use their mobile phones abroad to pave the way for the abolition of retail roaming charges by summer next year, reports Reuters. "The EU struck a deal a year ago to abolish mobile roaming charges across the 28-country bloc by June 2017 but that hinges on wholesale prices being competitive enough to allow firms to offer customers free roaming without operating at a loss." The European Commission has proposed cutting the maximum amount operators can charge each other to 4 euro cents a minute for calls, 1 euro cent per text message and 0.85 euro cent per megabyte of data to ensure that retail roaming charges can be abolished in a year without distorting the market. However, the proposal is likely to run into many of the disagreements that hampered the law to abolish roaming charges, which was eventually agreed after much wrangling over the date. Operators in countries with lots of incoming roaming traffic such as Spain, Greece and France want wholesale rates to be high enough to compensate them for handling the extra tourist traffic and ensure they can keep investing in networks. Operators in countries with cheap domestic rates and whose customers travel a lot, such as Baltic and eastern European countries, fear removing retail roaming rates without lowering wholesale prices first will force them to raise prices at home to recoup the cost." Wholesale prices are currently 5 euro cents a minute for calls, 2 euro cents for text messages and 5 euro cents per megabyte of data. Read More See also the Commission's study on wholesale roaming costs at

  • Monday, 27 June 2016

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