EU communications commissioner warns again on data roaming

EU communications commissioner warns again on data roaming

Viviane Reding has warned mobile operators that they must cut roaming charges

EU telecoms commissioner Viviane Reding has once again warned mobile operators that she may have to regulate the mobile communications market if they persist in charging consumers and business customers substantially more for text messages and data downloads when abroad in other EU countries.

Commenting on the pricing situation at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Reding said, "The real breakthrough for data roaming will only come when the inter-operator tariffs start to fall to a substantial level. It is these wholesale tariffs where the real problem lies for data roaming."

However, GSM Association chief government and regulatory affairs officer Tom Phillips said in an interview published in the Associations' house magazine, Mobile World Congress Daily, "We don't feel that price regulation is beneficial. We feel the way to influence prices is to allow for innovation."

But others supported a push. Rob Barnes head of broadband and mobiles at said: "Costs for Brits using mobiles abroad are amongst the highest in Europe and we welcome the EC steps towards reducing texting and data roaming charges."

Reding gave a straight warning to EU mobile operators, "If I see no such single market offers for data roaming evolve by 1 July of this year, I will have no other choice than to propose regulatory intervention again."