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Editorial

No, Let’s Really Get Rid of Roaming Fees

| February 18, 2015

Roaming fees were on their way out in 2015. Now, it seems like some are trying to back out of the plan. Let’s not go back. Let’s get rid of the roaming fees as we promised our citizens. 

It looked like the case was closed back in 2013 when the European Commission recommended getting rid of roaming fees within the EU. The European Parliament backed the recommendation – with a huge majority – then the European Council gave it a green light in 2014. After that, the legal framework was to be put together and Member States would then ratify it. Finally, citizens of the EU member states, already free to travel and work and do business throughout the Union, would no longer be slapped with ridiculously high fees for placing a call in another Member State.

Roaming fees were on their way out in 2015. Now, it seems like some are trying to back out of the plan.

The Latvian Presidency of the European Council has put forward a new proposal, which would place a cap on the amount of roaming usage that doesn’t incur a fee and then let the mobile service providers charge fees on roaming usage over that limit. That’s not all. The proposal would also grant the providers an additional three years, until the end of 2018, to keep charming the current fees.

Supporters of the proposal claim that the introduction of so-called “roaming like at home” would put a strain on telecom service providers, especially in member states where mobile phone tariffs are low. We’ve heard those arguments before. In 2009, as a temporary solution, the roaming regulation somewhat reduced the exorbitantly high roaming fees.

Of course a company is never happy about regulations that limit revenue, and the phasing out roaming fees would affect the mobile providers’ profits. But it would bring something much more important: a more open, competitive EU, in which the citizens and businesses of different Member States connect and communicate with each other more freely. That’s why Fidesz MEPs, in a joint, written parliamentary question, called on the European Council to proceed with the European Parliament’s request to phase out the roaming fees as soon as possible.

Let’s make the clear choice for competitiveness and customer satisfaction. Let’s help the businesses and citizens of a free economic area, the European Union, communicate with each other more freely. Let’s not go back. Let’s get rid of the roaming fees as we promised our citizens.