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Viviane Reding, European Commissioner for the Information Society and Media

Viviane Reding, European Commissioner for the Information Society and Media

Probably the most influential woman in the mobile industry, Commissioner Reding has not won a great deal of friends among mobile operators. Whether you see her as a slick, populist politician interfering in a market that is best left to set its own levels, or as a consumer champion who has broken the back of cosy operator pricing cartels, there is no denying her impact.

With a seemingly boundless enthusiasm for forcing operators to cut their prices, Reding’s willingness to regulate on retail as well as wholesale roaming charges is seen universally among carriers as a step too far. Individually and collectively— through the GSMA—most have complained that natural market forces would have brought prices down without her intervention.

That, of course, can never be proven. But it’s unlikely that prices would have fallen as far or as fast if operators had been left to their own devices. Reding shows no signs of slowing down and her stated target now is data roaming charges.

In November last year her telecoms reform package was approved by the European Parliament, bringing in a cap on contract lengths and 24 hour deadlines for number portability. “The EU telecoms reform will bring more competition on Europe’s telecoms markets, better and cheaper fixed, mobile and internet services and faster internet connections for all Europeans. Thanks to the strong support of the European Parliament today, Europe has put citizens in the centre stage in telecoms regulation,” said Reding.


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