EU plan on roaming charges could lead to telco consolidation - analysts

|By:, SA News Editor

The EU's plan to scrap roaming charges for incoming calls from July 2014 and put a limit on other tariffs, which it announced yesterday, could leave the telecom sector open to more consolidation if the rules come into force, analysts reckon.

"Margins are going to be wafer-thin," says CMC Markets' Michael Hewson. "There are already too many companies operating in Europe...and with these new rules, the capacity for European companies to make a profit will be greatly reduced.

However, Hewson points out that the regulations will only apply to calls and not data, which tends to be more expensive.

Companies that will be hit by the rules include Telefonica (TEF), Vodafone (VOD) and Orange (ORAN), and it makes you wonder whether AT&T (T) will still want to make acquisitions in the EU.