Viviane Reding, the Commissioner in charge of the information society, repeated yesterday her commitment to push down the prices charged by mobile operators for international roaming services. To that end, the Commission is contemplating the adoption of price regulation mechanisms (in the form of a proposed Regulation). The main features of these mechanisms should be the following:
1. The proposed Regulation should require inter-operator tariffs (wholesale prices) to be based on actual costs;
2. The proposed Regulation should regulate roaming prices at the retail level to ensure that operators' savings at the wholesale level are actually passed on to the consumer;
3. The proposed Regulation could seek to eliminate all roaming charges for receiving a call when traveling abroad in the EU;
4. For calls made while travelling abroad in the EU, the proposed Regulation could introduce the “home pricing” principle. A mobile customer travelling abroad in the EU would always be charged only the prices that he is used to paying in his country of residence.
The Commission's plans are likely to lead to an interesting debate between the Commission, representatives of the industry and consumer associations. See here for a good article published today in the International Herald Tribune.