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The EU wants to ban mobile data roaming rates

The European Union wants to scrap data roaming rates for mobile broadband. 

Not content with forcing networks across the continent to push down rates for calls, texts and data, the EU has decided that it wants to scrap them altogether. 

A spokesperson for European Commission vice president Neelie Kroes revealed that Europe is committed to pushing roaming out of the market so that holidaymakers and business travellers can check emails and work from abroad without racking up huge bills. 

The draft rules, seen by The Guardian, state: “When parties to collective roaming agreements offer to all their customers by default roaming tariffs at the level of domestic tariffs, the obligation of domestic providers to enable their customers to access voice, SMS and data roaming services of any alternative roaming provider should not apply.”

As part of a wider effort back by the GSM Association and the ITU, EU wants to start harmonising sale of spectrum bands effectively stopping short of creating a single European market where a SIM, phone, tablet or dongle you buy in one country will work in any other EU country.

Ofcom has already made efforts to start selling off the 700MHz band of spectrum so that the 5G auction doesn’t suffer any delays. 

It’s not known from when the EU wants to have its ban on roaming rates in place. This year rates for data climbed down to 45 cents (37p) per MB from 70 cents (58p). Next year this will fall even further to 20 cents (16p) per MB from July 1 2014 onwards. 

Image: wfabry/Flickr 


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