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EU mobile roaming prices to fall further on 1 July

29 июня 2010

The next stage of European Union-mandated price cuts for voice calls and data downloads while abroad come into force Thursday, part of a process of incremental cuts that began in 2007.

The latest cuts will bring the maximum price for making a call while abroad down to 39 cents a minute, down from 43 cents, while receiving a call will cost a maximum of 15 cents a minute instead of 19 cents. Both limits exclude sales tax.

Furthermore, the wholesale price of downloading data on a mobile phone or a laptop while traveling in the EU will fall to 80 cents a Megabyte from the current EUR1.

Mobile operators will also have to set an automatic data roaming limit at EUR50, unless the consumer has chosen a different level, to prevent exorbitant bills for downloading while abroad, the commission said.

Operators will have to send users a warning when they reach 80% of their data-roaming bill limit, and cut off the mobile Internet connection once the limit has been reached unless the customer chooses to stay connected.

"There will be no more bill shocks for tourists or business travelers surfing the Internet with smart phones or laptops while in another EU country. The EU is also cutting the cost of roaming calls for travelers," said telecoms commissioner Neelie Kroes in a statement Monday.

The European Commission, frustrated by lack of competition, started regulating roaming prices in 2007. In July 2009, further cuts were approved that will reduce roaming prices in stages until July 2011, when maximum roaming prices will be capped at 35 cents a minute for calls made and 11 cents for calls received.

These rules will remain in place until the end of June 2012, when the commission will reassess its roaming policy.

"I am determined to make the EU's telecoms markets more competitive," Kroes added.

The commission's telecoms regulation has substantially reduced profit margins for European mobile operators, who have often vehemently resisted the regulated reductions.

Four of Europe's largest mobile telecommunications operators--Vodafone Group PLC, Telefonica SA's O2, Deutsche Telekom AG's T-Mobile and France Telecom's Orange--tried to challenge the legality of the roaming regulation in Europe's highest court, but lost the court case in early June.

Источник: Total Telecom

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