It is uncertain whether Europeans using their mobile calls abroad within the EU will be paying any less by this summer. Talks on how to regulate the costs to make and receive them have failed to produce an agreement.
Representatives of European Union countries, the parliament and the EU executive body still differ over the levels of price caps. Whether customers should be automatically switched to the rates or left to opt-in to the new regime is also a key point of contention.
The parliament proposes caps of 40 euro cents per minute for making calls and 15 euro cents to receive them. The 27 member states propose 60 euro cents and 30 euro cents, respectively – available on a new subscription basis. Industry groups have suggested that rates which are slightly higher would give more leeway to compete for customers.
The European Commission says Europeans are paying more than one euro per minute to make calls, and that this is too much. Telecom operators have opposed the rules strongly, and say roaming prices are coming down in any case.
The Commission is keen to have the rules in force in time for summer holiday-goers to benefit. There will be another meeting this Thursday to try to solve the impasse. If there is no agreement, a vote in the parliament on the regulation could be delayed.