The 2.5 billion text messages sent every year by roaming customers in the EU cost over 10 times more than domestic short messages (SMS), show figures released today by the European Commission. The average cost of a roaming text message in the EU between October 2007 and March 2008 was €0.29 according to the European Regulators’ Group (ERG), but can be as high as €0.80 for travellers from Belgium. Calls on the industry for self-regulation and voluntary reductions of roaming prices for text messages have not been answered. The Commission will therefore start working on measures to ensure that consumers benefit from a truly single market for mobile text services. The Commission will also seek to put an end to "bill shocks" that can hit roaming customers using a mobile connection to surf the Internet. New measures could be proposed by the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council in early autumn.

“EU citizens should be free to text across borders without being ripped off” [b]Commissioner Viviane Reding[/b]

“Europe's Single Market should be allowed to play its part, making sure that no borders re-appear on travellers' phone bills,” said José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission. “On seeing the latest price trends gathered by national telecoms regulators, I am particularly concerned by the high prices paid by consumers for text messages when they are travelling abroad. There is also a danger that European businesses are put off by non-transparent roaming costs for mobile data services. The Commission will closely work together with the European Parliament and the Council to find swift responses to Europe's data roaming problems.”

“EU citizens should be free to text across borders without being ripped off,” said Telecoms Commissioner Viviane Reding. “Roaming charges have already drained the wallets of mobile customers too much, especially the 77% of young people who send texts while using their mobile abroad. It is not a good sign for the competitiveness of Europe's mobile industry that it still hasn't got the message that credible price reductions are needed to avoid regulation. I will therefore recommend to my fellow Commissioners that we propose a regulation of SMS roaming in October. We will also have to discuss in which way to address data roaming, which continues to be heavily overpriced.”

Full press release

Factsheet : Texting without borders : Ending roaming rip-offs for text messages abroad

Roaming website

Roaming regulation

Public consultation

First ERG report

Study: Roaming data services (24 June 2008)

Analysis of Prices and Costs for Mobile Data Services Abroad (June 2008 - Danish National IT and Telecom Agency)

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