On 26th November 2015, the European Parliament completed the process of adoption of a new Regulation that will abolish roaming charges when travelling in the EU from 15th June 2017 (see press announcement and fact sheet). For this to happen, a number of technical measures have to be taken, first by the Commission and later on by the European Parliament and the Council. That is why the Commission has opened this public consultation.
Prior to the end of roaming surcharges from 15 June 2017, the new EU rules on roaming will reduce considerably the price of mobile roaming services in the EU from 30th April 2016: from that date, operators will only be able to charge a small additional amount as compared to domestic prices of up to €0.05 per minute of call made, €0.02 per SMS sent, and €0.05 per MB of data (excl. VAT).
The end of roaming as of June 2017 will be secured via an obligation imposed to operators of mobile telecommunications not to levy any surcharge in addition to the domestic retail price on a roaming customer in any Member State for any roaming call made or received, for any roaming SMS message sent and for any data roaming services used. This is subject to fair use policy and to an exceptional sustainability mechanism.
In that context, this public consultation serves three quite distinct (but interlinked) purposes.
First, it will gather input for the wholesale roaming review in order to assess the functioning of roaming markets in the EU and the current regulation of national wholesale roaming markets in the EU against the obligation laid down in the Regulation to abolish retail roaming surcharges by 15 June 2017. This is with a view to possible legislative proposals to the European Parliament and the Council.
Second, the Commission must lay down detailed rules on the application of fair use policy by the end of 2016, the public consultation seeks views on which detailed rules are needed for the application of fair use policies to the consumption of roaming services at domestic prices.
Third, the Commission must also lay down detailed rules, by the end of 2016, on the sustainability mechanism in a context where roaming services are offered at domestic prices. The public consultation seeks views on the most appropriate content and design of the methodology for assessing whether the abolition of retail roaming surcharges would undermine the sustainability of the domestic price model of a given operator.