We have all seen the headlines about the Roaming Regulation and the decision last week by the EU Council, but what the press understands and what is reported in the actual regulation are naturally different. From our investigation it appears the rules have been somewhat compromised from the decision made last June.
The Fair Usage Policy is confirmed as well as the Surcharge provision and the transitional regime period. They also say that the obligation on domestic and roaming providers not to prevent customers from accessing regulated data roaming services provided directly on a visited network by an alternative roaming provider as provided for in Regulation (EU) No 531/2012 should be maintained. Therefore the LBO regulation that previously existed.
Download this Infographic here…Copy of EU Roaming Regulation for 15th June 2017
As far as the Fair Usage Policy is confirmed, the EU Council says that in order to strengthen the rights of roaming customers laid down in the III Regulation, provision should be made for roaming customers
“… to be notified in a timely manner and free of charge, of the applicable fair use policy, when the applicable fair use volume of regulated voice, SMS or data roaming services is fully consumed, of any surcharge, and of accumulated consumption of regulated data roaming services”.
It’s interesting to note that in the document approved last Thursday, the EU council underlines that the Roaming Abolition “should” start from the 15th June 2017.
In fact, they say that though the III Roaming Regulation establishes the policy objective that the difference between roaming and domestic tariffs should approach zero,
“however, the ultimate aim of eliminating the difference between domestic charges and roaming charges cannot be attained in a sustainable manner with the observed level of wholesale charges”.
And then they say that:
“Therefore this Regulation sets out that retail roaming surcharges should be abolished from 15 June 2017, provided that the issues currently observed in the wholesale roaming markets have been addressed. In this respect, the Commission should conduct a review of the wholesale roaming market, and should submit a legislative proposal based on the outcome of that review…”
According to the EU Council approval, the following articles will be added to the current Roaming Regulation:
- Article 6a – Abolition of retail roaming surcharges: With effect from 15 June 2017, provided that the legislative act to be adopted following the proposal referred to in Article 19(2) is applicable on that date, roaming providers shall not levy any surcharge in addition to the domestic retail price on roaming customers in any Member State for any regulated roaming calls made or received, for any regulated roaming SMS messages sent and for any regulated data roaming services used, including MMS messages, nor any general charge to enable the terminal equipment or service to be used abroad, subject to Articles 6b and 6c. And, in fact, the milestones… the articles 8, 10 and 13 of the Current III Roaming Regulation that are about “Retail charges for regulated roaming calls” “Retail charges for regulated SMS”, “Retail charges for regulated data roaming services” are deleted.
The following article 6f is added:
- Article 6f – Transitional retail roaming surcharges
From 30 April 2016 until 14 June 2017, roaming providers may apply a surcharge in addition to the domestic retail price for the provision of regulated retail roaming services.
Here’s what Mobile World Live said about the council decision:
The European Council formally approved rules that aim to end roaming charges in the EU by mid-2017, as well as safeguard internet access.
The original agreement enshrined net neutrality into EU law for the first time. Users will be free to access the internet, without being unfairly blocked or slowed down, and paid prioritisation is not allowed.
“The council’s position at first reading was adopted without discussion at a meeting of the Competitiveness Council”
said the announcement. Approval by the council was expected, following a period of extensive discussion on the proposed legislation.
The European Parliament is also expected to adopt the same text at a plenary session in late October. This will mark the end of the procedure at second reading.
Finally, a new set of telecoms rules for the EU is in sight. The regulation will enter into force after its publication in the EU’s Official Journal. This is expected to happen in November.
Formal approval by the European Council follows a compromise reached in late June between the council, European Commission and European Parliament, following sometimes fraught negotiation.
Here’s what Blasting News wrote about the Council decision:
It will mean that from June 2017 EU nationals will be able to use their devices in any member state but mobile companies will not be allowed to charge the ‘roaming’ fees for calls, texts or using the internet. It means that checking Google, updating your Facebook status or getting navigation will all be free.
Although it is nearly two years until the new laws come into force, prices have already fallen, and they will fall further from next April. A spokesman for the UK Government said that the cost of using data while in another EU country had fallen by over 95 per cent over the last four years.
Using a mobile device outside the EU can lead to extortionate charges, but campaigners have long been calling for the complete abolition of them here. Without opting in to the services offered by operators roaming can still cost a user a great deal.
Many mobile operators have already introduced small charges for unlimited roaming. In the UK Vodafone charges £4 and O2 charge £1.99 for unlimited use per day. These rates are only available to those who opt in. But even these charges will be abolished in 2017.
The UK’s Business Minister, Baroness Neville-Rolfe, said: “The end is now in sight for those astronomical bills that so many holiday makers face after a trip to Europe.
“The UK has worked with other countries and the European Parliament to get a better deal for consumers, and that’s what today’s agreement will deliver.”
The Minister, who is in Luxembourg today to sign the agreement into law, added: “This shows that the UK can deliver real reform in the EU to produce real benefits to consumers in Britain.”
The new rules have still to be adopted by the European Parliament, but this – due at the end of the month – is a formality.
Source: Blasting News, Mobile world Live