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EC Cuts SMS & Data Roaming Rates

Gordon Kelly


EC Cuts SMS & Data Roaming Rates

In its slow but steady battle against the preposterous roaming charges forced upon consumers who travel around the European Union, the EC has announced its latest major breakthroughs: SMS & data.

Touted for cuts for more than a year, this pesky duo will now be capped at 0.11 euros (9p) for sent SMS - down from a 0.29 euro average - and one euro per megabyte (83p) for data - a potential reduction of almost 10x the current EU average. A proposal is also in place to cut connections if a user's data costs top 50 euros (£41) with all changes coming into force from 27 July 2009.

"The real cost of transmitting an SMS on roaming is less than one cent," said EC Commissioner Viviane Reding (pictured) stamping on the whining from greedy telcos. "I believe there is ample room between one cent and 11 cents which is the ceiling which will be fixed... Operators will be able to provide 25 to 50 cents per megabyte and we set one euro per megabyte. Operators have plenty of margin."

Too right, if only we could all enjoy such gargantuan percentages...

Then again, with horror stories of £30,000+ roaming bills why has this taken so long? Well, it all comes down to the good faith/naivety of the EC in giving telcos the option to voluntarily cut roaming costs. "I call on operators to deal with the problem of high prices for text messages and data," Reding proclaimed in October 2007. If they failed to act (just as they had with requests for voluntary reductions to roaming call rates) an enforced cap would be introduced.

Guess what? Once again operators milked it until the last minute and now that flat rate reduction has been passed.

Yes, the ruling does mark a promising step forward but I still believe it doesn't go nearly far enough - particularly with regards to data. After all, telcos are forever trying to get us to use services such as web browsing and email then they employ roaming prices which can only be described as pure lunacy.

That said, expect to hear your local network provider taking the moral high ground over the next few months as they declare their wide eyed joy at being able to provide you with cheaper SMS and data roaming costs - just remember: don't believe a word of it...


via The BBC

EC Roaming Declaration (Initial draft)


December 1, 2008, 7:01 am

Why does the EC have guts that our government doesn't seem to?


December 1, 2008, 7:31 am

Or call through skype on your mobile with a web subscription/add-on. Much more cost effective.


December 1, 2008, 3:01 pm

@darkspark88 - this is not to do with the cost of making calls from (say) a UK mobile on a UK network to an international number, which can be made cheaper with Skype, assuming you can get a suitable data bundle AND your network hasn't decided to block you from doing so. This article is about the cost of roaming data and SMS, e.g. using a UK mobile on a French network. The cost of roaming data and SMS has been absurdly high for a long time now, so this is very very good news.

At the current cost of several pounds per megabyte, I'd expect that anyone who uses Skype through their mobile while abroad right now is going to be hit with a stonking phone bill, MUCH higher than if they just called.


December 1, 2008, 4:46 pm

I think the telcos are in for a shock...There revenues will go up big time with lower prices, at the moment its prohibitively expensive for data roaming/SMS so a lot of people don't use it. Now its not so expensive it should become increasingly popular. It may have a knock on effect for normal voice calls to..Remember them ;-)


December 1, 2008, 7:44 pm

@Dylantherabbit - voice calls were already capped about 2 years ago ;)


And more info here: http://ec.europa.eu/informa...


December 2, 2008, 1:04 am

@Gordon.....Good point, but my point was that we sometimes forget what phones were originally all about! Nowadays everything is about this new internet thing and SMS.. I wonder if voice's share of mobile use is falling as internet and SMS become ever more popular.

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