Industry warns against tariffs proposed by MEPs
By Nathalie Vandystadt | Monday 19 March 2012
The EU could stand in the way of the growth of new online mobile telephony operators. This warning was addressed by new operator Transatel to members of the European Parliament’s Committee on Industry (ITRE), who have voted for lower international roaming tariffs than those proposed by the European Commission.
Transatel, which runs a virtual infrastructure linked to eight major operators, including Bouygues Telecom and Orange in France, Base and Mobistar in Belgium, and KPN Telfort in the Netherlands, says that the tariffs proposed by MEPs will not provide any incentive whatever for investment. Rather, non-European companies, such as Apple and Google, will benefit most from the measures advocated by the ITRE committee, Transatel adds.
By proposing new legislation on roaming, the Commission had in fact hoped to encourage alternative (online) operators to buy shares from existing operators, but if these tariffs are adopted, Transatel is now threatening to freeze its European expansion projects, particularly in Germany and the UK, and it could also abandon its US projects.
The operator says that regulation of roaming tariffs in Europe would be a “time bomb,” “a Trojan horse sent to Europe by Europe,” which would be most profitable to Chinese, American and African operators who succeed in Europe by offering services to their expatriot communities. These expats benefit simultaneously from special offers for calls to their country of origin, and regulated tariffs within the EU - while Europeans do not have access to such advantages.
ITRE has also supported an initiative that would allow consumers to choose the operator they use for roaming services without having to change their telephone number. According to Transatel, this measure, proposed by the Commission, would “lay out the red carpet” for companies such as Apple, Google and Microsoft. These criticisms have already been raised at the Parliament by Transatel and other operators.
The EP will vote on the matter in plenary session in April.
Tariffs to be charged to consumers as proposed by ITRE
From July 2012: 25 eurocents per minute for outgoing calls and eight eurocents per minute for incoming calls
From July 2013: 20 eurocents per minute for outgoing calls and seven eurocents per minute for incoming calls
From July 2014: 15 eurocents per minute for outgoing calls and five eurocents per minute for incoming calls
From July 2012: eight eurocents per SMS
From July 2013: seven eurocents
From July 2014: five eurocents
From July 2012: 50 eurocents per MB
From July 2013: 30 eurocents per MB
From July 2014: 20 eurocents per MB