EU Roaming Charges Plan Has A Long Way To Go Before 2017
In June 2017, the EU is set to roll out its final plan to eliminate European roaming charges, and they are currently working on putting the pieces of the complicated puzzle together. One of the main points under discussion is the Fair Use Policy that the EU announced would be added to the plan.
An earlier draft of the Fair Use Policy included a “roam like home” agreement but set a cap on the time that consumers could take advantage of domestic prices while roaming to 90 days throughout the year and only 30 days consecutively.
The cap was intended to prevent people from abusing the system by getting a contract with a company in a country with cheaper rates but using it in the country that they reside. This abuse is not only a concern because it could lead to some telecom operators going out of business. But, those abusing the system could skew the overall mobile data usage figures and motivate price hikes to cover the costs.
However, the fair use policy changes have undergone heavy criticism from European Parliament and consumer-rights groups that said it directly opposed the original promises made to end roaming charges and allow users to “roam like home” while traveling or roaming European Union countries. Since then, the policy has been scrapped and the EU is working on another draft.
President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker has some high ambitions to change how people in the EU are roaming Europe by 2017. Within four years, Juncker wants free WiFi in Europe available in public places like parks. He has also proposed new standards and a commitment to increasing Internet speed by having at least one city in every EU country with a 5G network by 2025. He added that, “This has the potential to create a further two million jobs in the EU.”
When it comes to solving the puzzle of roaming charges, EU countries have a long way to go and a lot of work to do before 2017. So far, the Commission seems to be working to create an agreement that balances the interests of both EU consumers and telecom providers. The latest Fair Use policy was a failed, but seemingly well-intended attempt to do that. A new draft of the policy is expected this week, and it will be interesting to see how they propose to handle it this time. Stay tuned for more updates.