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EC Calls For End To Mobile Roaming Charges 173

Posted by timothy
from the all-seeing-wise-and-benevolent-bureaucrats dept.
An anonymous reader writes "European travellers who use their mobile phones abroad could soon see a dramatic reduction in their bills, after the European Commission announced plans to eradicate roaming charges by 2015. In a consultation paper launched yesterday, the EC invited consumers, businesses, telecom operators and public authorities to evaluate the EU's existing roaming rules, and to share their ideas on the best ways to boost competition in roaming services. 'Huge differences between domestic and roaming charges have no place in a true EU Single Market,' said vice-president of the European Commission for the Digital Agenda, Neelie Kroes. 'We need to address the source of current problems, namely a lack of competition, and to find a durable solution. But we are keeping an open mind on exactly what solution would work.'"
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EC Calls For End To Mobile Roaming Charges

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  • Yes please. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tenchikaibyaku (1847212) on Friday December 10, 2010 @02:06AM (#34511612)
    This is one of the places where I, for one, would welcome more regulation. The roaming charges are often completely absurd, and I don't see the free market taking care of it anytime soon. Now, if they could fix the roaming charges for data connections outside of the EU too... (over 10€/MB? Seriously?)
    • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Friday December 10, 2010 @02:54AM (#34511794) Homepage Journal

      No, that's socialism, and you go to hell for that.

      The free market is making people rich, and it's a sin to stop it with some dirty hippie collective like a government.

      • Re:Yes please. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by timbo234 (833667) on Friday December 10, 2010 @03:45AM (#34511978) Journal

        No, that's socialism, and you go to hell for that

        I realise you're being sarcastic but it's still worth pointing out that this isn't socialism, it's the use of the same anti-collusion (anti-trust) laws that you guys have over in the US. Basically the EU Commission worked out that phone companies were colluding (illegal in the free market) to fix phone charges for roaming.

        They then had the choice of going through a normal collusion investigation, spending huge amounts of tax-payers money in court and investigation fees and at the end probably coming up with fines of a few hundred million Euros - a small write-off for these companies. They chose the smart way - since the EU is one market companies shouldn't be allowed to charge higher prices for services that are 'imported' from another country in the EU.

        It's a rare example of governments just doing their job properly, although it's not all perfect. 2015 is a long time, especially since they started this in 2007 or 2008 and since then have been slowly lowering prices - it's gone from extreme rip-off towards the current more moderate rip-off. They really should have brought this law in for 2011 - 3 or 4 years is more than enough time for phone companies to adjust, esp. since most mobile contracts are less than 2 years.

        • Re:Yes please. (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Doc Ruby (173196) on Friday December 10, 2010 @04:04AM (#34512098) Homepage Journal

          I was being sarcastic. But in the US, "free market" theocrats will tell you that anything government does is socialism. Because private business does everything better, as an article of faith (disproof has no power over faith). Meanwhile, we could use a healthy dose of actual socialism, instead of the private monopolism that's managed to take over our government and is busy eating what's left of generations of hard-won social democracy.

          • by gangien (151940)

            http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&q=define:+socialism [google.com]

            first definition
            - a political theory advocating state ownership of industry

            So while regulations may not be complete socialism, they are in fact a small part of it. As they are definitely the government controlling an industry.

            • by Doc Ruby (173196)

              Ownership != control, and vice versa. Except in Sim City, Libertaria.

            • by sjames (1099)

              So, in the U./S. the president is an elected official granted power by the people limited by the Constitution, subject to a two term limit and impeachable should he commit any high crimes or misdemeanors. But other than that he is the dictator for life.

              • by gangien (151940)

                i dunno where you get that from.

                • by sjames (1099)

                  Same place that you got regulation=ownership.

                  If regulations are a little socialism, then the president is a little dictator for life.

                  • by gangien (151940)

                    1. It's not for life.

                    2. You could say that about somethings, yes.

                    • by sjames (1099)

                      Right, but 4-8 years is some part of a life isn't it?

                      Of course one could more usefully say that the president and a dictator for life have little in common and that socialism and regulation are similarly unrelated.

        • I recently visited the US last month from Canada where I live. I left my cell phone off the entire trip. Were I to turn it on and actually use it I would be hit with the most draconian fees you ever did see....

          So its not different across the pond. In fact if I were a betting man, I would say it is far worse.

          I can only hope that Canada/US will finally drop the roaming BS. I mean really I don't understand it. I am with Bell Canada. There is a Bell in the US. Seriously stop screwing people already!

          • I am with Bell Canada. There is a Bell in the US. Seriously stop screwing people already!

            What's the weather like over there? Must be sunny and warm all of the time. "Stop screwing" people? The (Baby) Bell(s)? To paraphrase Nathan Filler, "Darlin, that's what they do". The fact that they can screw you over both individually (as a state, province, country, whatever) and collectively is what makes it all worthwhile.

      • by Xenna (37238)

        There aren't enough parties for a true free market (oligoply). The data roaming charges are ridiculous. I pay 10 EUR a month for max 1GB traffic. When I cross the border to Belgium that goes to 10 EUR per MB. A thousandfold increase! And we all know what it costs to transfer 1MB from one country to another these days: practically nothing!

        The result is that everybody disables data whenever they cross the border.
        So they make practically nothing on it anyway...

        OTOH national data and voice rates are very reason

        • by Doc Ruby (173196)

          I expect that national laws make the national data and voice rates work well enough in those markets. The EU hasn't regulated the cartel across Europe well enough yet. But at least it's not a state-owned monopoly, or the cartel-friendly state the US has become.

          • Re:Yes please. (Score:4, Insightful)

            by ConfusedVorlon (657247) on Friday December 10, 2010 @05:56AM (#34512578) Homepage

            It isn't national laws that make the national data prices work - it's plain competion.

            The thing is; When people sign up for a contract, they all ask
            1) How much do calls cost
            2) How much does data cost
            3) What 'free' phone do I get

            so the companies compete on these

            Then they shaft you with the items that you weren't paying attention to; International roaming, calls, etc.

            Since these are a small concern for most people - there isn't any real competion in it.

            Same thing with credit card companies; They compete on the headline interest rate, then shaft you on the fees.

            Customers are shallow in their purchasing decisions, and there aren't many choices anyway (~four operators in the UK).

            Competition works for the headline stuff, but in complex products it doesn't work for the secondary items.

      • Your post is correct except that cell phone roaming is anything but a free market.

        A free market is making people rich, a monopoly is making everyone else dirt poor. Destroying monopolies is one of the core functions of the government, because otherwise we would long be living under the boot of something like "Omni Consumer Products Inc.", which is bad for everyone, not only dirty hippies.

        There are at max 2-3 cell phone networks per country. Most of them are local subsidiaries of transnational companies. For

    • by wvmarle (1070040)

      Expensive roaming is the exact reason I simply don't have a data account on my phone.

      When I'm in my home town, I'm usually either in office or at home, or not long away from both. I've not much use for data roaming here.

      It's only interesting when traveling (though hotels these days usually have Internet service included, and open wifi networks are plentiful). But for that purpose the charges simply put me off.

      I'm European, not living there now, and would love to see more reasonable roaming charges across

    • The EU has a mandate to regulate and improve the market conditions in Europe, but I don't see them making any headway outside. After all can you imagine any corporation voluntarily giving away profits?

      We can only hope that some enlightened regulator is inspired to act on behalf of his own citizens thus making it possible for similar agreements. I don't have much hope for African markets, but perhaps in some Asian countries and Latin-America?

    • by Alioth (221270)

      The stupid thing about the charges that if you're on (say) O2 UK and go to Ireland and use O2 in Ireland - the same company! - you get hit with roaming charges. Or where one company owns another, for example Telefonica owned O2, but you would be hit with huge roaming charges to use the Telefonica network even though they owned O2.

    • by Z00L00K (682162)

      I agree that the prices are absurd. If the roaming charges are just 10-20% over the local charges it's no big deal for most users but now it's also a factor of operators doing large steps in charges so the minimum charge is per started megabyte of data and per started minute of a call. This is actually adding to the income of the telecom operators since calls seldom are close to a minute or a megabyte.

      The customers are ripped off...

    • Let me tell you the telecom success story of India.I have listed cents as USD cents
      Back in the day(5-6 years or slightly more), call rates were around 10rs/min (20c/min) for outgoing and Long distance was even more. Some carriers charged for incoming too
      Then came the first shakedown around 2003, when call rates dropped to 2rs/minute for all calls. and even on roaming.

      In the recent shakedown, the latest fad is per second billing
      So its 1p/second 100p = 1rs = 2cents
      So basically you pay per second. It comes to

  • "Over there!" (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    European travelers who use their mobile phones abroad could soon see a dramatic reduction in their bills...

    I thought the idea behind the creation of the EU was to eliminate the notion of "abroad"?

    • by polle404 (727386)

      It's not very nice to refer to Neelie Kroes as 'a broad'...

    • by timbo234 (833667)

      That's what they're doing, but they're doing it (too) slowly. There will be no more notion of 'abroad' between EU countries phone contracts by 2015.

    • by houghi (78078)

      Its intention is to erase the economic borders, not the social ones. The social ones will be erased by MacDonalds, Carrefour, Benneton and the like.

  • Last time I went from Norway to the UK, I racked up a 500NOK (about 50GBP/90USD) bill in about half a day of using Google Maps on my iPhone while trying to find my way around. I started around 7:30am walking from Liverpool Street Station and by around 12:30, I got an SMS from my mobile phone service provider that I would soon need to call them to override my "stop limit of 500NOK" if I wanted to continue using data.

    Of course, I went to the first open Starbucks, logged on and downloaded a cheap (though almos
    • by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Friday December 10, 2010 @02:28AM (#34511694)

      I'm guessing their next thing is to put out a hit on the commission members.

      Bad idea. Her position as an unelected official notwithstanding, Neelie Kroes is one of the good ones. Under her leadership as Commissioner for Competition, the EU already imposed actually meaningful penalties on Microsoft for anti-competitive behaviour. I don't suppose the telecoms companies are going to scare her, particularly given that they are so obviously ripping everyone off and the telecoms industry is so obviously not functioning effectively as a free market with open competition in this respect.

      • I don't recall Microsoft ever being accused of assassinating anyone. On the other hand, Telecom Italia, while I don't know if they've ever placed a hit on anyone, doesn't have the cleanest reputation.

        Now, I'm force to ask. If she was less of a "bull dog", would it be a good idea to assassinate her? Don't get me wrong, I think it's a bad idea based on that fact too... but are there situations where assassinating someone is a good idea... or at least not a bad idea?
        • Erm... OK... I had rashly assumed that by "put out a hit", you meant apply some sort of political pressure to have her removed from her (government appointed) role. If you are literally talking about assassinating her, you're way too crazy for me.

          • Well, I wouldn't assassinate her. Hell, if she pulls this off, she's my hero (especially if Norway adopts it as part of the EEC which often confuses itself with the EU when convenient).

            I'm just scared that someone else will
            • by openfrog (897716)

              Well, I wouldn't assassinate her. Hell, if she pulls this off, she's my hero (especially if Norway adopts it as part of the EEC which often confuses itself with the EU when convenient).

              I'm just scared that someone else will

              I gathered as much from the tone of your posts. However, voicing such fears, in such wording --I mean, you CASUALLY evoke this possibility-- strikes me as utterly irresponsible.

              Therefore, the parent's reference to your posts: "If you are literally talking about assassinating her, you're way too crazy for me." is apt. Posts such as yours, on a public forum such as this one, now, here, may well have an intimidating effect, however well intended they are, however unintended.

              Go spend a weekend in a Zen dojo or

              • hmmm... I have a heart rate that borders on dangerously low. Zen would probably finish me off :)

                Frog, I actually had to look at your earlier posts because after rereading your comment multiple times some things struck me.

                1) You're complaining on Slashdot about people making "utterly irresponsible" comments and casually evoking the possibilities etc...

                which struck me similar to once when I saw southern women in Georgia smack her child in the head for slapping his sister and saying "Don't do that, you'll go t
    • A Hit? This is Europe, not America - No they will be accused of sex crimes in Sweden.
    • by Bert64 (520050)

      If your iphone was unlocked, you could have bought a prepaid simcard for 1GBP and put 10GBP of credit on it. Depending on the provider, 10GBP will buy you 1gb of data or so.

  • I am suprised that they would work for the common good, rather than the coorporate interest.
    The reality though is that 2015 is a loong way away, and by then these costs woudl have collapsed by nature.

    Everybody would be walking aroud with an voip phone tapping into free bandwidth. This has already started with android 2.3 and SIP VoIP

    G
    • by zaibazu (976612)
      Bet one eurocrat got angry about the roaming charges because he used his private phone in Brussels.
    • Not sure I follow, why would roaming charges collapse due to VOIP? I can't imagine corporations ever backing off extra money.

      • Because with VoIP, you can swap out your SIM card for a local prepaid card with a data flat when abroad, and everyone can still reach you over your VoIP number.

        I've been doing it for over a year now (frequent trips to the Netherlands & Belgium, as I live right on the border), and it works perfectly as long as I've got 3G access. EDGE or GPRS not so much, but hey, it's better than paying 10 for a 5 minute phone call.

        • Except that VOIP is against most TOS'es, sometimes heavily blocked, usually sandvined.

          Changing SIM cards is a workaround, but a crappy one. T-Mobile A, T-Mobile B and T-Mobile C could very well get together and abandon roaming charges between them. It is one network and they don't have any higher costs in doing so, they're just shafting their customers, hard.

    • Re:common good (Score:4, Informative)

      by Sockatume (732728) on Friday December 10, 2010 @02:51AM (#34511780)

      If the costs could've collapsed by nature, it probably would've happened to at least a miniscule degree in the last decade of widespread mobile phone use. The fact is that it's at a deadlock. Each carrier charges every other carrier obscene termination fees for roaming. It's that fee that then sets the roaming rate in the market. A network could choose to eat the huge fees the other networks charge when its own customers roam, but that'd probably drive it out of business. Or it could choose to drop its termination fees for non-customers roaming onto its network, but that doesn't benefit them in the slightest, it helps everyone else instead. They're stuck in a local minimum that free market actions can't hop them out of. They need a perturbation. If/when roaming fees are forced to drop, they should stay low without any further action.

      (FWIW, your common or garden Symbian phone's had SIP integrated for a while, and it's hardly affected mobile VOIP adoption.)

      • If the costs could've collapsed by nature, it probably would've happened to at least a miniscule degree in the last decade of widespread mobile phone use. The fact is that it's at a deadlock. Each carrier charges every other carrier obscene termination fees for roaming. It's that fee that then sets the roaming rate in the market.

        In theory, you are right. However, de facto there are only some mobile phone operators which are active in (nearly) all European countries. If Orange UK charges an Orange France user huge roaming costs, this is just for screwing the customer. And, to make it worse, the SIM card of the Orange France user has the preinstalled "preference" to use the Orange UK network. The same goes for t-mobile and Vodafone users - and probably most the other mobile carriers.

        While the EU regulation already put a cap on th

      • by houghi (78078)

        Even worse is if the roaming company is the same company you are already have a subscription. They are the same frickin' company, yet you still pay roaming fees up till your wazoo.

      • by jonbryce (703250)

        Looking at the big operators in the UK -

        Telefonica also has networks in Ireland, Isle of Man, Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Italy and Spain

        Everything Everywhere (Orange / T-Mobile) also has networks in Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Macedonia, Montenegro, Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Armenia, Belgium, France, Luxembourg, Moldova, Portugal, Romania, Spain and Switzerland)

        Vodafone also has networks in Albania, Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Netherlands, Not

    • by cheros (223479)

      The COSTS would have collapsed, but that's exactly the issue: for the telcos it just means their profit margins increase. Not one of them has passed on that saving to the end user unless forced, which carries a tiny suggestion of cartel formation instead of true competition..

    • Re:common good (Score:5, Interesting)

      by wvmarle (1070040) on Friday December 10, 2010 @03:13AM (#34511860)

      Roaming charges are so high because there is no competition in that field. None. You're dependent on your operator - you have no choice. They compete with each other on the local market, not on roaming charges, because - let's be real - some 90% of the telephone users doesn't even use roaming, save for maybe those two weeks vacation a year and then they'd just switch off the phone.

      People that have most roaming charges are those that travel for business, and they often don't have to pay their own bills (so they don't care). And companies don't care enough because it's too important to have the phone work in the first place.

      • On the contrary. The competition makes sure that prices are lowest where people do have a choice and highest where people don't. When you "remain" with your supplier, your supplier will try to attract you with low prices. When another supplier is forced to use its services, the price is as high as possible. If only so the customer price can be more attractive. This is a result of competition. Competition means customers want freedom and suppliers want lock-ins. And guess who has the advantage? No customer i
      • by acidfast7 (551610)
        Who gets only 2 weeks of vacation? We usually have 8 weeks. The workaholics only take 6 though.
      • Roaming charges are so high because there is no competition in that field. None. You're dependent on your operator - you have no choice. They compete with each other on the local market, not on roaming charges, because - let's be real - some 90% of the telephone users doesn't even use roaming, save for maybe those two weeks vacation a year and then they'd just switch off the phone.

        I am still looking for a pan-European provider that offers a flat rate - or at least a constant minute price - for all phone calls regardless the (European) country, I happen to be. I know that there is a market. However, it is not since long that you would be allowed to create such a meta-provider (i.e. reselling only, without own network) in some countries and I am not sure that you are allowed in all countries (this was to make sure that providers actually build out a competing infrastructure; but the

      • by houghi (78078)

        some 90% of the telephone users doesn't even use roaming, save for maybe those two weeks vacation a year and then they'd just switch off the phone.

        And 82% of statistics is made up.
        The roaming charges are so high, because they can get away with it. Hopefully that will change now.

        The reason people turn off their phone during the two weeks in Spain or Greece is because it IS so expensive.

    • by frisket (149522)

      I am suprised that they would work for the common good, rather than the coorporate interest.

      Some bits of the Commission are independent, some are in the pockets of big business.

      The reality though is that 2015 is a loong way away, and by then these costs woudl have collapsed by nature.

      No, they would still be there...the cellphone companies are making a killing on these charges.

      Everybody would be walking aroud with an voip phone tapping into free bandwidth. This has already started with android 2.3 and SIP VoIP

      Not an icicle's chance in hell. Wifi is nowhere near widespread enough for this, and still won't be in 2015. SIP is fine as a concept, but cannot take off until there is a unified directory that works. Right now it's just an interesting plaything.

  • I know it might be naive, but I assumed that purchasing "international service" meant you had service anywhere in the world just like in your home country. One of my friends spent a month in China over the summer, and I didn't hear him say anything about roaming charges, or anything out of the ordinary.

    Similarly, I know that a lot of Canadians who frequent the US will purchase cellular service here, but I assumed that was just because of better service when they're here.

    • Within Europe (Score:5, Informative)

      by andersh (229403) on Friday December 10, 2010 @03:12AM (#34511854)

      You're probably American, and as such it's normal that you travel less outside your own country. Europeans in general travel more frequently to other European countries.

      As a European I would never dream of purchasing "international service", not that it exists as a product here, I should not have to. The basic service is not a problem, your phone will work automatically.

      When I travel abroad [at least in Europe] I expect to continue using my phone without any interruptions or changes. It works that way too, as every network has some local partner in the foreign country in question. The only issue is with the roaming charges, they can be exorbitant, but at least the EU is looking out for us.

      The point is that within the European Union marketplace there is no room [by law] for abusive pricing that treats consumers differently depending on their nationality. The EU's goal is to create one, free market.

      • True, I'm from the US, but I recall reading not long ago about European phones using a different system (or maybe it was that particular carrier?) in various other parts of the world. With that in mind, buying a phone that has several band capabilities (CDMA, GSM, etc) and having to pay extra for the additional service seemed reasonable at the time.

        • Re:Within Europe (Score:4, Informative)

          by BorgDrone (64343) on Friday December 10, 2010 @09:37AM (#34513834) Homepage

          I recall reading not long ago about European phones using a different system (or maybe it was that particular carrier?) in various other parts of the world.

          You've got that the wrong way around. Some carriers in the US use a different system (CDMA) than the rest of the world. The few operators that use the standard system use it on a non-standard frequency. Every phone on the market today in the EU has support for multiple bands (usually 4 or 5), this is such a standard feature that they stopped advertising it years ago.

    • by dakohli (1442929)
      As a Canadian who has spent a fair bit of time down in the States, I can say that I purchased local cell service, not because of the service, but rather that it was a ton cheaper. My roaming fees from Rogers is $1.45 per minute, texts are 75 cents, and for data: 3 cents per Kb! And in some cases I have to accrue data in 20 Kb chunks! Quite frankly, sometimes its just easier to get a throwaway phone at Walmart especially if I'm in town for more than 4 weeks.
  • by arestivo (459117) on Friday December 10, 2010 @02:20AM (#34511664)

    Portugal and Spain are already in talks to end roaming charges between the two countries: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/08/technology/08roam.html [nytimes.com]

  • by cheros (223479) on Friday December 10, 2010 @02:56AM (#34511808)

    The paper includes questions about that last frontier of all rip-offs: data traffic.

    The prices you pay for phone call roaming have indeed been affected by EU rules, but you now get ripped off over data - the cheapest resource to provide as the whole infrastructure has already moved to IP (that was one of the reasons 2.5G to 3G took so much time - the underlying security model had to be changed). This is partially visible in the VoIP and WiFi comments, so they're not ignorant of the issue - maybe I'm just too picky :-).

    I cannot see the paper make a clear distinction between voice and data, but on the other hand, it's not that clear on packing the two together either so if you answer, make the distinction and address both separately.

  • Does this mean that you could sign up for the cheapest tariff in Europe (eg SIM via mail order) and use it at the same cost in your own country? If so it will drastically increase competition. Also you would probably be better of for coverage than those using a phone from the same country, because you could roam to any of the networks!
    • I'd assume (not having read TFA) that you'd still have to pay international charges to call from, say, Spain to the UK, but you'd pay local charges to call a Spanish phone from your Spanish mobile while in the UK. So I'd say you could get a SIM via mail order from country A, but unless the bulk of your calls go to country A, you still won't save much.

      • by Chrisq (894406)

        I'd assume (not having read TFA) that you'd still have to pay international charges to call from, say, Spain to the UK, but you'd pay local charges to call a Spanish phone from your Spanish mobile while in the UK.

        I did read TFA and it is not clear, it seems to imply that there would be no international charges.

    • While that would be fantastic, I doubt that will be the case. That would likely lead to the collapse of the whole industry... compare, for instance, the pricing in Germany and Austria - minutes cost 10cts (Germany) vs. 1cts (Austria) on average. Many operators would just go out of business with such an abrupt transition.

      Of course, anything's possible, and I hope you're right :p

    • by Strider- (39683)

      I think it would be fair if, say, you're on a Spanish SIM and traveling in the UK, you pay the same rates as a holder of a UK phone would pay.

  • ...I paid £50 for one of the latest (i.e. WAP, 3-band GSM etc.) Motorola Timeport 'phones, and for £12.50/month on a 12 month contract with BT Cellnet I got enough inclusive minutes to cover my light usage when not roaming. Data calls were GSM modem, i.e. slow, but this is 1999. Roaming charges were expensive, but I rarely needed to use my mobile abroad, making this is the cheapest mobile plan I've ever had.

    All I've seen in the last decade is contract and call costs steadily increasing, while no

    • by badzilla (50355)

      In 2003 I took my UK GSM phone on a family trip to the Florida Keys. Before I left I asked about roaming data use abroad and Vodafone told me no problem, just use it like you would at home, no APN reconfiguration necessary and no extra charges. They were completely true to their word and although I ssh'd back to the UK quite frequently I never saw anything on my phone bill.

      Of course this was probably before telco woke up to the money that could be made.

    • All I've seen in the last decade is contract and call costs steadily increasing, while no data plans cater for the very light user who doesn't need to browse Facebook and watch porn on the move, just regularly send/receive e-mail on a mailbox which he's already run through a text filter to limit to a few kB at most.

      Contract costs have increased becaus light users have gone to pre-pay. I rarely spend more than about £1/month with my phone, because most calls are incoming or made via SIP / WiFi. I've just moved from T-Mobile to giffgaff, so I pay 8p/minute for calls (cheaper than the rate for calling mobiles from my SIP provider, although more expensive than their rate for calling landlines) and 4p for texts (no line rental, but you can buy 'goody bags' which have a bundle of minutes and texts for a month), whic

  • by Herve5 (879674) on Friday December 10, 2010 @04:10AM (#34512128)

    I have been on GSM in Europe since the very beginning, a professional traveller.

    I perfectly remember roaming rates were widely variable according to the carrier you chose abroad, and soon there were ordered lists that you would enter in your phone to indicate careful preference for carrier X vs Y then Z, for each country. It was somehow painful to enter in the phone, but once only and cool after that.

    Then, I *even more perfectly* remember, one day the news unanimously announced, in order to simplify customer experience, all european carriers had agreed onto a clearer and common rate.

    Absolutely no one reacted. The rate of course was among the highest (at least, five or ten time higher than the lowest before).
    No newspaper claimed this was an illegal arrangement, and neither did the Ms Kroes of the time.

    Saying we discover it today is just a shame.

    When it was done, it was fully in the open, and no one reacted.

    • by openfrog (897716)

      Saying we discover it today is just a shame.

      When it was done, it was fully in the open, and no one reacted.

      Thank you for mentioning this. This is historically significant.

      However, from you own account, it hardly qualifies as having been done in the open. They ostensibly and hypocritically presented an act which turned out to be of collusion as a one of collaborative rationalization. At the time, I assume it would have been easy to greet the announcement as good news.

      This might sound petty a point to make, but the nuance has legal, as well as public relations, ramifications.

  • Many countries i visit have the exact same companies operating the mobile networks, and yet they still charge extortionate fees... If you were to buy the most expensive prepaid service in the country your visiting it would still be cheaper than roaming...
    So given that the operator is clearly willing to offer service at such rates, it's purely a ripoff that roaming is so expensive. It's not like your getting anything extra, since while your roaming you clearly aren't using the service in your home country ei

  • I thought the EU cellphone market was much better than in the US. Every time something negative about the US cellphone market comes up there are dozens of comments along the lines of, "Why is the US so backwards?" Well my question is, why is the EU so backwards? The U.S. market did away with roaming charges a long time ago and it didn't require any government intervention. The free market did it all on its own. So, if the free market could do it in the US, what's wrong with the EU that prevents the free mar

There is no royal road to geometry. -- Euclid

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