Phoning home to be cheaper

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Phoning home to be cheaper

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The hopes of some at the European Parliament that all mobile phone roaming charges would end in the European Union in two years time have been dashed.

Instead MEPs have decided to impose another round of cuts this summer on what the phone companies charge you to use your mobile when abroad.

Now the EU Commission and Parliament must thrash out a final plan with 27 EU governments to approve the new caps before June, when current roaming regulation expires.

The move will anger the phone companies who complain Brussels is starving them of cash for investment in new, faster, fixed and mobile networks.

At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, telecoms executives spoke out: “Now is the time to invest. It is not the time to regulate,” France Telecom’s Stephane Richard told the conference.

Vodafone’s chief executive Vittorio Colao had used a speech on Monday to say Europe risked crippling economic growth with continued regulatory intervention.

“What does Europe need? Does Europe need investment? Does Europe need employment or does Europe need mobile termination rate cuts,” he said. “We really need to stop this auto-pilot regulation mentality.”

Roaming fees are a cash cow for telecoms operators, bringing in up to seven percent of their revenue.