Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Bill shock - CAD 446 for data to use Google maps while driving in the USA

The Spec reports a case of CAD 445 for using Google Maps, driving in the USA, not for the service but the underlying data.

It also mentions a Rogers customer a saying:

I used my Internet on my iPhone for maybe 10 to 15 minutes while waiting at the airport in the Bahamas and came home to a $367 charge. I complained to Rogers about the ridiculousness of these roaming charges and how the disclosure policy of sending texts wasn’t good enough.

Switzerland - Consumer groups call for reduction in roaming rates to EU level, overpaying CHF 330 million

Telecom Paper reports:
Swiss consumer magazines Bon a Savoir and K-Tipp have handed out symbolic gold coins to each member of the federal parliament to remind them that mobile phone users were paying for mobile roaming services "at the price of gold".
The original story in Tribune de Geneve:
Le constat reste le même qu'en septembre 2011: les Suisses paient toujours beaucoup trop, environ 330 millions, aux opérateurs de téléphonie mobile par rapport à leurs voisins européens. Et ce malgré une motion d'Ursula Wyss (PS/BE), largement acceptée au Conseil National il y a un an exactement, qui visait à plafonner les tarifs d'itinérance, à l'image des limites fixées dans l’Union européenne (UE). Mais rien n'a bougé jusqu'ici.

EEA - EU Roaming Reg III extended from later this year, with the same caps and provisions

NPT reports that Roaming Regulation III was incorporated into the EEA Agreement 28 September 2012. Regulation is likely to take effect for the EEA EFTA countries from 1 November or 1st December 2012.

This covers Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

Channel Islands - Calls for operators to cap spending by customers to avoid bill shock

Channel Islands Competition and Regulatory Authorities (CIRCA) has called for operators to introduce caps on data roaming to avoid bill shock.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

NZ - Govt has published draft report on roaming

The New Zealand government has published a draft report on roaming to Australia:
Options suggested in the report to address the problem include regulation, requiring operators to enable roamers to use a local phone number without having to swap SIM cards, and price caps.
The full text of the draft report is available, as is a supporting document prepared by consultants.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Rwanda - Regulator has imposed an additional charge on roamers into Rwanda

The New Times (via AllAfrica) reports that the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency (RURA) has raised a tax on calls:
The regulator introduced a fee whereby any person calling an operator in Rwanda is charged $22 cents (Rwf132.2) per minute, a move that has not been taken down easily by mobile phone users.

The new regulations, which took effect July 1, are going to affect costs for all incoming international calls, mobile phone users while in Rwanda and also Rwandans outside the country.

Operators are passing the charge onto customers.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Singapore and Brunei - Agreement to reduce each other's roaming rates

Today reports outline agreement to cut roaming rates between the two countries.
Information, Communications and the Arts Minister Yaacob Ibrahim and Brunei Communications Minister Abdullah Haji Bakar announced this today on the sidelines of a ministerial forum which was held as part of the annual Infocomm Media Business Exchange 2012.

Both ministers have tasked telecoms regulators of both countries to work with mobile operators to reduce roaming rates.

These include voice calls, SMS and data roaming service charges.

China - China Mobile is cutting roaming rates for the London Olympics

CRI English reports that China Mobile is to cut roaming rates for its customer in the UK for the Olympics and for all of July and August.
Subscribers who uses Vodafone's network will have to pay only 0.99 yuan (0.16 U.S. dollars) per minute for phone calls made or received during July 1 and August 31. Subscribers usually pay 1.99 yuan to make a call to the Chinese mainland.

Costs for sending a text message to the Chinese mainland will be lowered by 62 percent to 0.15 yuan. Receiving messages will be free.

Charges for the GPRS Internet roaming service will be slashed by 90 percent to 1 yuan per megabyte.

China Mobile said the move was a result of tough negotiations between itself and overseas telecommunications operators.

Japan - KDDI and Wi2 offering customer Wi-Fi roaming when abroad through the iPass network of networks

KDDI and Wire and Wireless Co., Ltd (Wi2) are now offering customers access to the iPASS wi-fi roaming service.

Tadashi Egawa, head of KDDI's Service Development and Wi-Fi Business Strategy Department, said:

KDDI wants to ensure our customers have a convenient way to data roam on Wi-Fi while they travel abroad," "Seamless access to a reliable Wi-Fi service beyond Japan is important to our globally mobile customers and iPass provides the leading Wi-Fi network worldwide that supports our carrier-grade Wi-Fi roaming needs.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

GSMA - 24 operators/groups undertake to send anti-bill shock roaming information to customers

EIN News reports a press release from the GSMA.

The GSMA is committed to working with mobile operators worldwide to adopt the following measures:

  • Sending text messages to remind customers of their data roaming tariffs when they arrive in another country and turn on their mobile device;
  • Implementing a monthly data roaming spending limit to help consumers manage their roaming bill and sending alerts when their data usage approaches the limit; and
  • Temporarily suspending data service when usage exceeds the spending limit.
In the first phase of this initiative, these [24] operators and their group subsidiaries have agreed to implement these data roaming transparency measures by the end of 2012, covering more than 4 billion mobile connections worldwide. The GSMA will also work to promote the adoption of these guidelines across its full membership base of nearly 800 mobile operators globally. Further, the GSMA will develop a trust mark that will identify to consumers that their mobile operator is implementing these measures.

Australia - Business travellers to Europe advised to use new local roaming offers to save money

Australian Business Traveller advises use of new offers from local operators when in Europe.
  • Virgin Mobile has 7-day Travel Passes available: £6 for 5MB, £12 for 10MB and £24 for 20MB. (No, there's no discount for buying bigger blocks.)
  • T-Mobile offers 7-day Euro Internet Boosters: £1 for 3MB, £5 for 20MB and £10 for 50MB.
  • O2 pay-as-you-go customers get charged £2 per day for up to 25MB of data outside the UK. Go over the 25MB and you can pay another £2.
  • Vodafone will charge £8 for up to 100MB per day.
  • Orange offers several data bundles (that's their page for using your phone in Germany) -- 30MB for £3 per day, or three monthly offers: £15 for 30MB over a month, £50 for 150MB over a month or £150 for 500MB over a month.

Monday, June 18, 2012

UK - Three offer roaming in the EU for £5 per day

the Independent reports the new roaming offer from 3 (Three) at £5 per day in the EU.

It quotes Ernest Doku, a telecoms expert at

Three was the first to bring unlimited data to UK customers, and now is leading the way in bringing affordable unlimited data to UK customers using their phones in the EU. The Euro Internet Pass should prove a sure-fire hit with holidaymakers, particularly for those who aren't going to be holidaying anywhere near a Wi-Fi hotspot
Mike Odysseas, the managing director of telecommunications provider Odyssey Systems said:
My personal solution is never to use the mobile network except for receiving texts. Do not even reply if not in a Wi-Fi area and only use hotels with free Wi-Fi. Phone calls can be made and received over Wi-Fi using various packages including Odyssey SIP clients or Skype, for example. This way you can ensure you don't get hung by your provider

Friday, June 15, 2012

UK - Three and Vodafone launch alternatives to the regulator roaming rates

PC Pro reports the new roaming tariffs from Three and Vodafone.
Three's all-you-can-eat £5 a day Euro Internet Pass is among the most generous to date, with the company promising no limits on browsing or uploading pictures within the EU.

However, the package - which can't be used for tethering - is only available to pay-monthly customers, and according to a spokesperson, pay-as-you-go users will still be charged by the MB, typically at £1.28/MB in countries such as France.

Whereas Vodafone's EuroTraveller plan allows UK contract customers to pay £3 per day for calls, text and a web allocation. Its Data Traveller offers all customers 25MB of data for £2, after which the charge is £1/MB.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Lithuania-Russia - Ministries agree a Memorandum to reduce roaming rates

Telecom Paper quoting the Russian language Telecom-TASS:
The Russian ministry of communications and Lithuanian ministry of communications have signed a memorandum on international interconnect rates, Tass-Telecom reported. The rates will be reduced under the agreement. The memorandum has the support of Russian operators Rostelecom, Beeline, MTS and Megafon, as well as of Lithuanian operators Bite, Omnitel and Tele2 Lithuania. Roaming rates are expected to decrrease to LTL 1.5 from LTL 8-10 per minute for subscribers of Lithuanian operators using roaming services in Russia.
Obzor (Lithuania) carries a similar story, identifying the same operators.

Netherlands - NRA seeks extra 1.5 FTE to work on enforcement of new roaming rules from 1 July

Telecom Paper reports that OPTA is seeking an extra 1.5 FTE staff to work on the enforcement of extended rules for international mobile roaming, at least until 2015.

UK - the high cost of roaming to South Africa, which is not capped by the new Roaming III Regulation

This is Money notes the introduction of a retail price cap from Roaming III. It also warns:
But in the few weeks before that, the rates remain punitively high. And even after the new rules kick in, they will apply only to EU countries, leaving holidaymakers in other destinations risking huge bills, frequently of hundreds of pounds.
It reports a story of one UK resident visiting South Africa:
Fiona Chow, 33, of Wandsworth, south-west London, was hit with a £187 bill after a holiday in South Africa earlier this year.

Fiona, who works in marketing for an online ticket seller, says: ‘It was a real bolt from the blue. I had made sure I did not use the phone for any calls to limit charges. I only used my iPhone to occasionally check on my emails, log on to Facebook once and use a travel app a few times to find restaurants.’

Fiona has a phone package with 02 that included unlimited data downloads in Britain – but not abroad. 02 charges £6 per MB in South Africa.

Of course, one option is to buy a local SIM card in South Africa and use a pre-paid option to control spending.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Carrier software - Tangoe Inc has a solution for roaming bill shock including predictive analytics

Tangoe, Inc. a provider of communications lifecycle management (CLM) software and related services, has a "solution support" for EU roaming rules on "bill shock".
Tangoe's comprehensive CLM solutions, including Real-Time Telecom Expense Management (rTEM), provide visibility and control of mobile expenses for carriers and businesses, enabling compliance with the European Parliament's regulations regarding roaming on public mobile telephone networks and other potential regulations by government agencies around the world.
According to Daniel Rudich, SVP rTEM business development, Tangoe, Inc.
Tangoe's solutions take mandated roaming bill caps even further by offering predictive analytics and real-time usage alerts for end users, thereby enabling the elimination of excessive roaming costs before they are incurred. Tangoe's rTEM solutions provide mobile users with a comprehensive suite of solutions that can protect users from unexpected and costly overages in their mobile bills, allowing them to focus on growing their businesses and optimizing their workforce productivity.

USA - AT&T has announced roaming data bundles applicable in 135 countries

AT&T has announced a reduction of roaming rates.

AT&T Data Global Add-On packages cover 135 countries (see the list).

Beginning 1st June, the updated packages are as follows:

  • 120 MB Data Global Add-on package for $30/month
  • 300 MB Data Global Add-on package for $60/month
  • 800 MB Data Global Add-on package for $120/month
  • beyond the package data are charged at $30/120MB
  • one month minimum use required
General information about AT&T roaming.

UK - The outlook for roaming prices this summer, at least within the EU

Recombu reports on how the new EU roaming caps affect UK customers.
In many cases, looking at prices for bundles of data which you buy beforehand, prices are lower than the 55p per 1MB cap.

But where there are out of bundle costs, costs rise sharply, in most cases above £3 per 1MB. Speaking to representatives at networks, we’ve been told to expect these prices to change before the 1st of July.

It provides details of the tariffs offered by the principal operators.

Given the relative strength of the Pound against the Euro, the effects may be slightly less advantageous to UK resident.

Asia-Pacific - ITU-T has received the report of the APT working group on roaming

ITU-T Study Group 3 has received as a contribution [C 127] the Report of the Asia Pacific Telecommunity (APT) working group on international mobile roaming. This covers:
  • Background of the International Mobile Roaming (IMR) Working Group (WG)
  • Survey on IMR
  • Transparency of IMR Information
  • Measures to Address Mobile Bill Shock
  • Substitutes for IMR Services
  • Regulation of IMR Prices
  • Works Undertaken by Regional and International Organisations on IMR
  • Other Issues
  • Next Step

Scandinavia - Telenor offer of cheaper roaming across the region under TravelSure brand

Telenor has announced a TravelSure branded service in Scandinavia.


  • Surf for just 49,- NOK per day for up to 30 megabyte in EU/EEA countries. Automatic SMS notification sent to customers who go over the 30 MB limit. Price beyond limit is 10 NOK/MB. Same price for mobile phone, pad and PC.
  • "Ring EU/EØS". Telenor-customers with a Komplett or Prat subscription can use their included minutes when they travel in all EU/EEA countries. Call set up fee 5,99,- NOK.
  • "Surf outside EU/EEA" with the lowest market price for USA and new, lower surf prices for Turkey, Switzerland, Croatia and Thailand 79,- NOK per day for up to 20 megabytes. Automatic SMS notification sent to customers who go over the 20 MB limit. Price beyond limit is 10 NOK/MB. Same price for mobile phone, pad and PC.
  • "Ring EU/EØS" and "Surf outside EU/EEA" launched mid June.
  • Further information.
  • In January 2012 Telenor Sweden launched Free Surf EU as a concept, followed in February by Free Surf USA (SEK 199 per day) and Free Surf China (SEK 249 per day). These packages provide the customers with uncapped Internet access for a fixed price per day. At 100 MB the speed will be reduced to GPRS-level.
  • On 22nd of May the roaming package "Free surf EU" was made available to all post-paid customers uncapped Internet access for SEK 79 per day in the EU, EES and Switzerland.
  • Further information.
  • For voice calls Telenor Denmark offers "Tryg tale i udlandet", a free service allowing customers to call within EU and Nordics for 5 DKK per call plus 0.59 DKK/min. for outgoing calls and 0 DKK/min for incoming calls.
  • For surfing abroad Telenor Denmark offers "Tryg surf i udlandet" for all consumer customers allowing customers to surf 20 MB/day in the EU or Nordics for 29 DKK/day. Up to 29 DKK the customer pays regular list price, and after the 20 MB the user is barred from further cost, until the customer requests more data with an SMS.
  • Further information

Australia - Warning story about the perils of roaming charges when overseas, especially data charges

The Courier Mail carries a piece about the dangers of high roaming charges.

It quotes Elise Davidson, Director of the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network:

Our advice is, if you need to use your mobile when you're overseas only use it for texting. It's important that people call their providers before they go overseas if they have a smartphone and get data roaming switched off. If you're using the internet on your phone in other countries, it'll cost you a huge amount of money.

Austria - T-Mobile and Tele.ring have newly reduced roaming tariffs ahead of Roaming III Regulation

T-Mobile and Tele.Ring have announced new roaming offers.

There is no activation fee for the new offers.

T-Mobile Austria customers can select "Travel & Surf" with data volume of 3 MB for EUR 2 or 30 MB for EUR 5 valid for 24 hours. A so-called 'unlimited' pass, but with only 100MB costs EUR 20, valid for one week. Its telephony offer "Roaming Paket 35" includes 35 incoming and outgoing call minutes in Europe for EUR 5, and the "Roaming Paket 100" includes 100 minutes for EUR 19.

Tele.ring has a Daten-Roaming-Paket, with 50 MB for EUR 15 per month in the EEA. It offers Roaming Paket 35 as well as the Telefonie-Roaming-Paket, with free incoming calls, outgoing EU calls for EUR 0.25 per minute plus EUR 0.90 for the activation of a connection.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Europe - Council highlighted the agreement of Council and Parliament on Roaming III Regulation

3169th Competitiveness Council meeting Brussels, 30 and 31 May 2012:
STRESSES the need to place consumers and businesses at the heart of the Single Market and to increase trust in the Digital Single Market and in this respect HIGHLIGHTS the new agreement on the Roaming III Regulation; SUPPORTS the improvement of the digital provision of information and guidance through Enterprise Europe, reinforcement of the European Consumers Centres-Network (ECC-Net) and the Consumer Protection Cooperation (CPC) network; LOOKS FORWARD TO the adoption by the Commission of a “European Consumer Agenda”; RECALLS the suggestion from the European Council and URGES the Commission to submit the new proposal on e-signature, e-identification and e-authentication by June 2012;
It formally adopted the agreement with parliament.

UK - Bill shock of over £2,000 from iPhone use in Turkey

The Guardian reports a case of bill shock from a UK-based customer leaving the EU.
On a week-long trip to Istanbul in early May, Alexandra Xanthaki used her iPhone all the time to navigate the notoriously congested, confusing streets looking for restaurants. But on returning to London, the magic wore off when T-Mobile sent her a bill for £2,318 – and warned that another £300 would be added to her next bill, too.

MACH - support for operators to reduce data traffic and thus their wholesale costs for roaming

Mach, via MarketWatch, announced the launch of its new Data Optimization solution, which significantly lowers the cost of delivering data roaming and domestic services to subscribers for mobile network operators and MVNOs. Using sophisticated downlink data optimization technology, MACH's solution can enable reductions of up to 70% on downstream data usage of smartphones. This minimises the wholesale cost of providing data roaming for operators and for MVNOs who have to purchase their wholesale data from host mobile network operators, and tackles bandwidth issues, allowing operators to improve profitably and offer more competitive and disruptive offerings.

Lokdeep Singh, Chief Technology Officer, MACH, commented: "

MACH continues to innovate in order to help network operators find new ways of monetizing mobile data while tackling the challenges posed by increased data usage. While some data optimization and compression technologies are complex and difficult to deploy, MACH's Managed Service Delivery Platform architecture means that network operators can take an effective solution to market extremely rapidly. By reducing roaming data costs, operators can improve bottom-line profitability, or pass on savings to customers, thereby increasing competitiveness and end-user satisfaction and lowering the risk of 'Bill Shock' scenarios.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Eduroam - Celebration of a decade of operation, providing seamless roaming to universities

Since its launch ten years ago Eduroam has spread to over 50 countries, including more than 5,000 locations in Europe, where researchers, students and teachers with eduroam credentials can securely access the Internet while away from their home institution.
Today’s research and education community is increasingly mobile, and depends on technology and the Internet to collaborate and communicate. eduroam was created to meet these needs. Without the need to register for guest accounts or remember extra passwords, users can simply open their laptops or activate their mobile devices, and eduroam automatically authenticates them with their home institution and handles authorisation via the institution they are visiting. This not only benefits researchers, teachers and students, but reduces the support burden for institutions themselves, making it simple to provide access for visiting users without adding to their administrative workload.

iBasis - Launch of a hub for LTE international roaming across different vendors and operators

iBasis has announced the launch of an LTE Signaling Exchange(TM) (LSX(TM)), to enable allow mobile network operators to connect to hundreds of other operators through a single point of interconnection, ensure LTE Roaming interoperability across multiple vendors.
Demand for the LSX is a result of the disruptive nature of LTE and the evolution from traditional SS7 (MAP) signaling to IP-based Diameter signaling. The iBasis LSX runs on iBasis' IPX network, a multiservice, global IP network that delivers high quality voice and data services for mobile operators.

The iBasis LSX reduces complexity and cost while ensuring high quality of service for roaming customers. The LSX allows MNOs to connect to hundreds of downstream operators through a single interconnect and normalizes messages to enable interoperability on behalf of each roaming partner. It also interworks with existing SS7 networks.

iBasis is a subsidiary of KPN.

UK - Boy band told to rein in phone use after bills for £14,000 in Australia and USA

The Scottish Daily Record reports that:
ONE Direction have been given a lecture on finances – after running up mobile phone bills totalling £14,000.

Louis Tomlinson, Harry Styles, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne and Niall Horan amassed the whopping charges during the boy band’s recent tours of North America and Australia.

The X Factor stars racked up bills of more than £2500 each using Twitter, Facebook and the iPhone app Draw Something – as well as phoning and texting family and friends back home.

And when record label bosses confronted them about their not-so-smart use of their smartphones, it turned out the lads were clueless about roaming fees.

They have been told off and will, apparently, be restraining their use of phones and social media in future.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Global roaming revenues - Estimate they will reach USD 45.1 Billion in 2012

Virtual Strategy reports that Visiongain estimates global roaming revenues will reach USD 45.1 Billion in 2012.

As governments cap roaming tariffs it threatens this lucrative service. Operators must cope with this and with changes from the growth of LTE.

In order to monetise roaming services, new business models are required. The explosion in smartphone and tablet adoption, coupled with exponential growth in social media and digital entertainment have created a clear case for leveraging data use to restore revenue streams and consumer satisfaction in a post ‘bill shock’ marketplace.

MACH - System to support operators reduce costs for data roaming

MACH, a long term supplier of services to mobile roaming operators, has launched a Data Optimization solution:
which significantly lowers the cost of delivering data roaming and domestic services to subscribers for mobile network operators and MVNOs. Using sophisticated downlink data optimization technology, MACH's solution can enable reductions of up to 70% on downstream data usage of smartphones. This minimises the wholesale cost of providing data roaming for operators and for MVNOs who have to purchase their wholesale data from host mobile network operators, and tackles bandwidth issues, allowing operators to improve profitably and offer more competitive and disruptive offerings.
Not requiring a client on the handset, it is transparent to the end-user and simple for operators to deploy.

EUFA 2012 - Visitors to Ukraine face potentially very high roaming charges because it is beyond the EU Roaming Regulation

Metro warns UK fans attending the football competition in Ukraine are outwith the scope of the EU Roaming Regulation and thus at risk of high charges.
Phone conversations with friends and family back home could cost up to £1.79 per minute, compared to 35p in neighbouring co-host Poland.

Supporters also face paying £6.10 per 1MB of data when using their phones to stream videos, browse the web and email, says.

Virgin Atlantic - A limited in-flight roaming service with "usual" roaming charges

The BBC reports that Virgin Atlantic is offering roaming on its planes.

Access is provided by AeroMobile, and only customers of European carriers Vodafone, O2 and T-Mobile will be able to make calls.

Virgin Atlantic's chief operating officer Steve Griffiths said:

Many people will have experienced that moment when you're about to take off on a 10-hour flight and you need to send an important message to the office, or even reminding a family member to feed the cat

It's also quite fun to call home and say, 'Guess where I am' - not many people would think you're travelling at 35,000ft above the Atlantic Ocean.

The FCC bans the use of mobile phones on aeroplanes, so passengers will not be allowed to make calls when approaching US airspace.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Does the 3rd Roaming Regulation open the way to US heavyweights in the roaming market?

PC Pro raises the question of whether the Third Roaming Regulation would enable Apple and Google to become suppliers of data roaming services within the EU.

Mark Newman, chief research officer at Informa Telecoms and Media, was quoted as saying:

Roaming is an extremely complex business and there will need to be new investment in mobile networks to allow new players to provide roaming services ... The cost of these network upgrades and the mechanisms by which these new players are allowed into the market have yet to be agreed.

Apple and Google may be tempted into the market... smartphone vendors are constantly looking to develop new services, features and functionality that allow them to keep up their prices and to differentiate themselves from their competitors ... Offering their users a data plan – via an app store – that allows them to use their favourite services while abroad at a much lower price than that offered by their home network would clearly be an attractive proposition.

UK - Consumer Focus welcomed the new Roaming Regulation, but called for bill shock protection at home

Consumer Focus (UK) welcomed the EU's Third Roaming Regulation.

Marzena Lipman, policy manager at Consumer Focus said:

The last thing people want when they come back relaxed from their holiday is to be shocked by the size of their mobile bill. So further cuts to the charges phone companies can impose on their customers when travelling in Europe, are very welcome. The data-roaming caps are particularly good news, as data-use can incur some of the biggest and most unexpected bills for consumers.

However it is unfair that customers using their phones at home in the UK do not have a similar level of protection. We’d like to see this gap in protection closed voluntarily by mobile phone providers or for the regulator to tackle this issue.

Which? took a similarly positive view.

Roaming - Caps on prices with a threat of further regulation after 2016, if surcharges do not disappear

The Guardian reported on the vote of the European Parliament on the third roaming regulation.
The cuts are the latest step towards a European commission goal of reducing the gap between domestic and foreign call rates to virtually nothing by 2015.
Peter Skinner, Labour MEP for South East England, said:
If roaming prices have not come all the way down to domestic levels by 2016, then the European commission will be obliged to propose additional legislation to ensure that roaming charges are identical to domestic prices.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

European Commission - Welcomes the adoption of the Third Roaming Regulation by European Parliament

Neelie Kroes welcomed the vote in favour of the compromise on the Third Roaming Regulation by the plenary of the European Parliament.
People expect to use their phones wherever they go. Especially across internal borders that are supposed to have disappeared. And better smartphones, tablets and online content mean a boom in mobile data.

In that context, high roaming charges are an irritant for citizens, and an obstacle to the Single Market. People are fed up with nasty surprises when they open their bill. Today we can put an end to them once and for all—for voice, for text, and for data. And show how the EU protects citizens' interests.

First, we now have a "future-proof" solution. Injecting competition into roaming markets will mean, for the first time ever, a structural, sustainable way to protect consumers.

Because competition is the best guarantee of long-term low prices.

Under the new rules, mobile users are empowered to pick the roaming provider right for their travel needs, separately from their domestic provider; while companies will be able to compete through innovative services.

See the Memo for further details.

European Parliament - Massive vote in favour of the third Roaming Regulation to take effect 1 July 2012

The European Parliament in a mini-plenary in Brussels voted 578 votes in favour, with 10 against and 10 abstentions to adopt the report on the Third Roaming Regulation.

Angelika Niebler (EPP, DE) and rapporteur said:

Using mobile devices abroad remains expensive. During the summer holidays, our citizens will be able to take advantage of more favourable tariffs. Parliament has succeeded in its call for cheaper roaming prices for consumers, and in particular for data roaming. In addition, from July 2014, consumers will be able to choose an operator other than their national operator for roaming services. The new rules will also help to open up the market to new entrants and so increase competition

The proposal enters into force on 1 July 2012, replacing the 2007 regulation as amended in 2009, which expires on 30th June 2012.

Retail ceilings (charged to consumers) excluding VAT


1 July 2012

1 July 2013

1 July 2014

Data (per megabyte)


70 cents

45 cents

20 cents

Phone calls made (per minute)

35 cents

29 cents

23 cents

19 cents

Phone calls received (per minute)

11 cents

8 cents

7 cents

5 cents

SMS (per SMS)

11 cents

9 cents

8 cents

6 cents

Wholesale ceilings (charged between operators) excluding VAT


1 July 2012

1 July 2013

1 July 2014

Data (per megabyte)

50 cents

25 cents

15 cents

5 cents

Phone calls (per minute)

18 cents

14 cents

10 cents

5 cents

SMS (per SMS)

4 cents

3 cents

2 cents

2 cents

Monday, May 7, 2012

South Africa - The shocking bills from data roaming generated by smartphones and tablets

The Daily News report problems with roaming bills for South Africans.

It gives the example of Allan Bartram, CEO of a Kempton Park-based business and a regular foreign traveller. Ten days after his return from abroad his bill, normally in the region of ZAR 1,200 a month, was ZAR 10,500. He complains:

While overseas I had downloaded data I usually download at home – financial and forex info, weather and news – and I left the apps on.

It’s not a problem at home, because the downloads are free, but overseas it’s a bill killer, as I’ve discovered on talking to friends and colleagues.

Surely they [the operator] could send an inexpensive SMS to those people who have gone overseas with these smartphones and quickly start racking up an inconsistently high bill, in the way that we get a call from our banks when they pick up unusual spending behaviour on our accounts?

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Thailand - Regulator has expressed concern about cases of bill shock from roaming charges

The Bangkok Post reports that the Thai regulator, the NBTC, has produced a booklet on international mobile roaming charges for Thais going abroad.

Commissioner Dr Prawit Leesathapornwongsa said:

We expect to see more than 100 complaints this year