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Roaming Consulting Company Ltd

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The Evolution of Pricing for Roaming Calls

During the 24th BEREC plenary meeting that took place on 1 and 2 October 2015 in Riga (Latvia), BEREC (Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications) approved for a document called “IR Roaming BEREC Benchmark Data Report”.

This BEREC Benchmark Report on International Roaming presents the results of the 15th round of data collection on European international roaming services undertaken by the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC).

In our last article we showed the evolution of prices during the period covered by BEREC Report (4q 2015 and 11 2015) and our main findings were that as far as the average price of data roaming tariffs is concerned, in some country the alternative tariff for data roaming were lower than the Eurotariff, i.e. the regulated tariffs.

I believe that people may wonder if this scenario where in some countries the Eurotariff is more expensive than alternative tariffs occurs also for roaming voice calls (both made and received). Because the same Report issued by BEREC shows that some countries offer alternative tariffs that are cheaper than Eurotariff also for voice calls, then I thought that it may be interesting to complete the information that we provided last week also with the voice service.

It’s interesting to note that those countries that offer cheaper alternative roaming tariffs for data are not necessarily the same countries where chepaer alternative roaming tariffs for voice calls are provided.
It’s also interesting to highlight that – as far as voice calls are concerned – some countries offer an alternative roaming charge which is cheaper than Eurotariff as far as outgoing calls are concerned, but at the same time their alternative roaming tariff is more expensive for incoming calls… therefore it makes me think that this is the way they compensate their losses…

Have a look at Italy for example: figure n. 2 shows that for calls made, alternative roaming tariffs are 0,1 euro per minute vs eurotariff which is 0,151 euro per minute… but if you look at figure n. 4, then the Eurotariff for received calls is 0,047 euros vs the alternative roaming tariff where a received call costs 0,114 euro per minute…)

Main Findings

Today we want to share with you what the evolution of the prices for roaming outgoing and incoming calls has been during the period covered by the BEREC Report (1 October 2014 – 31 March 2015) at retail level.

In fact, the EEA average prices during the data collection is below the applicable regulated caps:

Calls made (retail)
According to BEREC findings, the

“average Eurotariff retail voice roaming rates… remained fairly below the regulated caps in most EEA Member States during the data collection period. For calls made, the EEA average Eurotariff was €0.140 in Q4 2014 and €0.131 in Q1 2015 compared to a cap of €0.19. The EEA average unregulated prices for alternative tariffs … was lower than during the equivalent period one year ago: €0.248 and €0.227 respectively in Q4 2014 and Q1 2015 compared to €0.286 and €0.271 in Q4 2013 and Q1 2014”.

If we have a look at figures 1 and 2 we can see the average retail price per minute for a intra-EEA roaming voice outgoing call, split by countries:

There are some countries, e.g. Austria, Belgium, Germany, Greece, Netherlands, Portugal and Slovenia where the alternative tariffi is higher than the Eurotariff. Cyprus reports an alternative tariff that is almost eight/nine times higher than the Eurotariff! Note non-EU Switzerland is increasing its tariffs from 2014 to 2015. In some countries such as Bulgaria, Italy and Malta the alternative tariff is definitively more affordable.

1

 

2

 

Figure 3 shows the glide path of retail prices for outgoing voice calls over eight years (from Q2 2007 to Q1 2015):

3

Calls received (retail)

For calls received, BEREC reports that

the EEA average Eurotariff rate was nearer the cap at €0.035 during Q4 2014 and €0.034 in Q1 2015, compared to a cap of €0.050. For calls received …, unregulated prices are lower than during the equivalent period one year ago (€0.098 during Q4 2014 and €0.093 during Q1 2015 compared to €0.121 and €0.118 in Q4 2013 and Q1 2014)

Looking at figures 4 and 5 we can see that also for incoming calls there are some countries where the alternative tariff is far more expensive than the Eurotariff (e.g. Cyprus, Austria, Belgium, Germany, Greece, Netherlands, just to mention some). However, you would not expect that also in those countries where the alternative tariffs for calls made are cheaper than the Eurotariff such as Bulgaria, Italy and Malta have alternative tariffs for incoming calls higher than the Eurotariff. Therefore, looking at Bulgarian, Italian and Maltese alternative tariff, you will benefit from them more than Eurotariff if you need to make calls, but not if you need to receive calls. Is this the way they try to compensate the cheaper tariffs they charge for outgoing calls?

On the other way round, Liechtenstein, Lithuania and Romania and Slovenia offer now better alternative tariffs for incoming calls than the Eurotariff.

4

5

Figure 6 shows the glide path of retail prices for incoming voice calls over eight years (from Q2 2007 to Q1 2015):

6

Federica Romano, Head of Legal and Regulation, ROCCO. 

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