Neelie Kroes’ “highest level” roaming plan support doesn’t include the GSMA

Last week, TelecomsTech reported on Neelie Kroes’ plan to abolish roaming fees in Europe. The Vice President of the European Commission was quoted as saying she has the “support of the highest level in institutions”, yet the biggest representative, the GSMA, doesn’t agree.

The GSMA is a mobile consortium representing more than 800 carriers including Vodafone, T-Mobile, Orange, AT&T and Everything Everywhere.

As a representative, the GSMA has voiced concerns of these many carriers saying it is causing “regulatory whiplash” amongst them, due to already “intensively implementing” the latest requirements by regulators and mobile companies.

This includes the price caps on roaming fees for data usage, which was implemented through legislation in 2012. From these new rules, data is now capped at 0.70 Euros (91 cents) per MB.

In a statement which was released on Monday, the GSMA said: “The GSMA encourages the commissioner to keep her focus on the big picture and to make bold and long-term recommendations.

“In this regard, it is unfortunate that the commissioner should have used her recent platform with parliament to talk about roaming.”

On the regulatory whiplash: “Roaming has seen three successive waves of regulation, with Europe's regulators and mobile companies intensively implementing the latest requirements.

“The commissioner should immediately clarify her intentions with regard to roaming, to avoid the industry investing in a roaming solution that has been superseded before it is launched.”

Clearly, Kroes still has a lot of work ahead of her to convince carriers and gain the support she previously thought she had garnered before able to implement the legislation in 2014 as planned.

Do you support Neelie Kroes’s push for the end up mobile roaming charges? Or is it an ambitious plan doomed for failure?

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4 Jun 2013, 2:01 p.m.

In this speech Kroes was talking about the highest levels of the EU's institutions, not stakeholder bodies like GSMA. So she was not misclaiming support, it's important to read the speech carefully.
The context is also important here.
No one is trying to cause operator investments to be wasted, but we also have a completely different ball game in 2013. There is a real chance to deliver the real meat of a real single market. That was not on the table when the last roaming regulation was agreed.
Those who want and will benefit from a single market also have to see the logical and political sense that there is no credible single market that still include high roaming charges. How can there be ...
The point is to take down the borders, not to give everything one interest group wants while ignoring the others - such as end-users of mobile services.
Ryan Heath
Spokesperson for Neelie Kroes