European Parliament to cap roaming charges?

A committee of the European Parliament is to examine a proposal today to cap the roaming charges that mobile phone companies slap on customers for using their phones in another jurisdiction. It will be considering a number of, as yet, unresolved questions. Sarah Laitner in the FT:

First, what should the price caps be? Several figures have been suggested, which broadly point to maximum fees of €0.50 a minute to make a call and €0.25 a minute to receive.

The industry instead calls for higher caps of €0.65 and €0.35 respectively.

It claims that some of the lower fees that have been put forward are 75 per cent under existing levels and could lead to operators applying tariffs below costs.

The second question is how exactly the caps should work. Should customers either receive the new regulated tariffs automatically, or have to request them?

Mobile phone groups claim that a one-size-fits-all approach could hit their flexibility to offer varied pricing packages. They say that automatically switching millions of customers to new tariffs will impose extra costs.

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty