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Roaming debate rattles on

The European roaming debate is still throwing up plenty of material for the EU and the operator community to fall out about.

On Thursday, the EU got two more committees on board, when the European Parliament’s Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee as well as the Culture and Education Committee voted in favour of the Commission’s proposals to reduce, through regulation, international mobile roaming charges by up to 70 per cent.

The changes are expected to take place by this summer.

But EU Telecoms Commissioner, Viviane Reding, said that she found it, “regrettable that many in the European Parliament want only new customers to profit automatically from cheaper roaming tariffs.”

Reding argued that as mobile phone penetration in the EU is at 103 per cent, not many consumers who would profit from the regulation if it would apply automatically only to new customers.

“I believe the burden of proof should be on the operators to demonstrate that their packages are really cheaper – and thereby to convince consumers to “opt out” from the consumer protection tariff,” Reding said.

“If consumers first of all will have to “opt in” to the cheaper consumer protection tariff, then operators will be able to rely on the passivity of many consumers. And it will in the end be the European taxpayer who will have to pay for national regulators and the European institutions to explain to every single consumer that they have a right now to opt in.”


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