As she warned she would, EU Telecom Commissioner Viviane Reding, announced plans to introduce regulations for capping text message roaming fees in October, in the hopes that roaming rates for SMS will fall by up to 70%.
The commission said Europeans traveling within the EU send 2.5 billion text messages every year, and that rates for sending a text while outside your home country are as high as 10 times more. In a statement, the commission said it plans to “start working on measures to ensure that consumers benefit from a truly single market for mobile text services. The commission also will seek to put an end to “bill shocks” that can hit roaming customers using a mobile connection to surf the Internet.”
Previously, Reding had called for European telecoms to cut data roaming rates in order to avoid the need for regulation. Redding said they haven’t done enough.
“EU citizens should be free to text across borders without being ripped off,” Reding continued in the statement. “Roaming charges have already drained the wallets of mobile customers too much, especially the 77% of young people who send texts while using their mobile abroad. It is not a good sign for the competitiveness of Europe’s mobile industry that it still hasn’t got the message that credible price reductions are needed to avoid regulation. I will therefore recommend to my fellow commissioners that we propose a regulation of SMS roaming in October. We will also have to discuss in which way to address data roaming, which continues to be heavily overpriced.”
Along with the announcement of planned regulations, the commission also created a new roaming Website in order to “make transparent the prices currently charged to consumers who use their mobile phone for sending text messages or surfing the Web abroad in one of the 27 EU member states.”
Last year, the commission launched a similar crusade to cap roaming rates for voice calls.