EU submits draft law to end mobile roaming fees, carriers unhappy

|By:, SA News Editor

As expected, EC telecom commissioner Neelie Kroes has submitted a draft law that would end mobile voice, text, and data roaming fees (in favor of flat-rate charges) for consumers traveling from one EU market to another.

Kroes proposes to achieve this by having carriers establish "alliances" with peers in other EU markets. She's giving carriers incentives (in the form of more relaxed rules on international roaming deals) to adopt the proposals by July '14.

Unsurprisingly, local carriers such as Vodafone (VOD +0.5%), Orange (ORAN +0.5%), Telefonica (TEF +1.7%), Telecom Italia (TI +1.1%), Portugal Telecom (PT +1%), and Deutsche Telekom (DTEGY.PK) aren't thrilled with the roaming proposals, which they estimate could cost them €7B/year.

Other proposed rules in the draft law, which aims to create a common EU telecom market, include the harmonizing of spectrum sale rules across countries, and the establishment of net neutrality-like safeguards to prevent carriers from blocking rival services. There's no proposal to create an EU-wide telecom regulator, as had been speculated.

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