As the peak holiday season approaches everywhere in Europe, the European Commission is warning consumers about the high cost of using their mobile phones while abroad. Known as “international roaming charges”, these prices have been a concern for some time already. However, Martin Selmayr, a spokesman for Viviane Reding, the commissioner in charge of telecommunications, said a crackdown is not what Brussels has in mind: “We believe that a competitive industry should allow consumers to use international mobile roaming as an attractive service and not consider this as an annoyance. This is certainly something that we are going to look into. However at the moment, regulation is not what we foresee. We hope that the market with a little push and strong transparency initiative will make its work and see that it is better to offer consumers a service than to have to recommend to them to switch off their mobile phone when travelling abroad.” The prices for calling your home country from abroad vary greatly in the EU, starting from 58 eurocents per minute (from Cyprus to Finland with a Finnish subscription) and reaching more than five euros per minute (from Malta to Poland with a Polish subscription), according to the Commission. It aims to publish samples of operators’ retail tariffs for international roaming, starting this autumn.
Appeal to stop charging consumers high rates for mobile phone service abroad