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EC starts consultation on roaming fair use rules

EC starts consultation on roaming fair use rules

The European Commission has launched a public consultation to finalise the details of the new roaming regulation passed by Parliament in October. The legislation will see roaming surcharges capped from 30 April 2016 and an end to all roaming charges from 17 June 2015. From that point, all roaming in the EU will cost the same as customers pay for domestic services. 

The European Commission has been charged with setting the details of the fair-use policy and sustainability mechanism of the new roaming regulation. The former would allow operators to set a fair use amount of roaming in the EU, in order to avoid any abuse of the system, such as customers using Sims from other countries where national rates are cheaper in their home country. If a customer exceeds the fair-use amount, operators would be able to add extra charges for roaming. 

The sustainability mechanism gives operators another form of opt-out from the roaming rules, if they can prove they are unable to cover their costs without charging more for roaming than domestic services. National regulators will have the right to evaluate whether any surcharges are justified in such a case. 

A third element of the public consultation will look at impact of the roaming changes on the functioning of roaming markets in the EU and the current regulation of national wholesale roaming. According to the EC, this could lead to further legislative proposals. The consultation is open for comment until 18 February 2016. 

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