European Youth Media Days 2013

“getting rid of roaming”

by Marleen De Rooy

Taking your mobile bundle with you all over EU, without paying any extra money. That is the plan of EU Commissioner and Vice-President, Neelie Kroes.

For months she has been talking with different member states to convince them of the importance of an open telecom market. Next week the European Commission will do its first vote on the topic.
The aim was to promote broadband investment, end cell phone roaming fees and make international fixed-line calls the same price as domestic calls.

If the proposition is accepted, which in Kroes’ opinion is very likely to happen, consumers can save money. A lot of money. “It’s absurd that people nowadays have to pay so much extra for roaming as soon as they cross the border.”
Telecom companies are lobbying against this act. They warn Kroes for the financial problems they will face if they loose the roaming income. The providers will lose roughly 5 per cent of their revenue with this act. They warn of higher bills at the internal market to cover the costs.

Kroes says the telecom sector should focus on the opportunities that opening up the border brings. “It will lead to healthier business models, more investments in the industry and at the end, it will create more jobs. Jobs that offer a future.”

Aside from that, Kroes points out that it is important that Europe keeps competitive. The U.S. and China are taking lead in rolling out new networks.

“The borders in Europe disappeared. The EU has become a single market. So why should we hold on to borders when we determine the costs of a service.” According to Kroes an open network is an important step in creating a competitive environment. “The business model of many telecom companies will be healthier when we accept this package.”

Smaller telecom providers fear an open market will make them an easy takeover target for the big companies. Kroes disagrees with this concern and says that it rather offers a lot of possibilities for companies. “Smaller businesses can use this package to chose better business models. At the end this will encourage them to start investing again.”

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