Digital Agenda for Europe
A Europe 2020 Initiative

Roaming: Most mobile operators comply with the law, but a few "black sheep" still jeopardise consumer benefits

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One month after the EU Roaming Regulation to reduce mobile roaming charges by up to 70% entered into force, the Commission has published a website to benchmark how mobile operators in all 27 Member States have applied the new EU rules. The Commission has found that the broad majority of mobile phone operators comply with the EU Regulation by offering customers the new "Eurotariff" (tariffs no higher than €0.49 per minute for calls made abroad and no higher than €0.24 for calls received abroad, excluding VAT).
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"I welcome that some operators went substantially below the regulation's price ceilings." (Commissioner Reding)

The Commission notes that many operators offered the Eurotariff already at the start of July while others waited till just before the 30 July deadline. Some operators are also offering prices below the EU cap or new roaming packages. The implementation of the regulation by operators appears to be proceeding smoothly, even though some non-transparent offers risk depriving consumers of the new EU rules' full benefits.

"Today, just one month after the new EU rules on mobile roaming charges came into force, around 50% of consumers in Europe are already profiting from substantially reduced tariffs. The interplay between regulation and the voluntary anticipation of the regulated tariffs by industry appears to benefit consumers, as envisaged by the European Parliament and the EU Council of Ministers," said Viviane Reding, EU Telecom Commissioner. "I welcome in particular that many operators offered the new Eurotariff as the holiday season began, and that some even went substantially below the regulation's price ceilings. Only in a few cases – the exception rather than the rule – we note attempts to delay the effects of the regulation by non-transparent or possibly even anti-competitive behaviour. These will have to be analysed very carefully by national and European regulators. If we find evidence for behaviour that violates the law, the EU Roaming Regulation foresees sanctions which could be complemented by the full force of competition law."

The Commission asked, by means of a questionnaire, 95 mobile operators about when the Eurotariff was offered and introduced, and its exact rate, during the new EU Regulation's first month. This month is particularly important for EU consumers as mobile operators must offer a Eurotariff to their customers by 30 July. Once a customer accepts this offer, the operator has one month maximum to activate this tariff. If the consumer remains passive, he will automatically switched to the Eurotariff on 30 September.

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The benchmarking of EU mobile operators

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