EU votes to end roaming fees, set net neutrality rules

|By:, SA News Editor

In spite of stiff protests from the region's carriers, an EU parliamentary committee has voted 30-12 (with 14 abstentions) in favor of ending mobile roaming fees (for voice, data, and SMS) by Dec. 15, 2015 for users traveling between EU countries. An exception exists for instances of "anomalous or abusive usage of retail roaming services."

The committee has also backed creating net neutrality rules prohibiting carriers from blocking or slowing specific Internet services. The vote comes after the FCC said it would draft new U.S. net neutrality rules following a court ruling shooting down older ones.

The loss of intra-continental roaming revenue stands to further pressure the bottom lines of European carriers, who have already been struggling to cope with slumping voice/SMS activity.

One silver lining: The EU's roaming efforts are part of a broader push to create a common European telecom market, something likely to spur further consolidation.

Affected carriers: VOD, ORAN, TEF, TI, DTEGY, BT