EU committee vote for bigger cuts on wholesale roaming fees

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The European Parliament Industry Committee voted for deeper cuts in wholesale roaming tariffs paid by telecom operators to their counterparts than those pitched by the EU Commission. The move intends to encourage competition.

Wholesale price caps usually put the southern European and northern European telecom providers at odds concerning who should benefit from tourists calling home. The southern providers would like to keep the caps as high as possible so they can invest in the network to accommodate peak demand in the holiday season. Their counterparts, whose citizens tend to go abroad for holidays, want lower caps for southern locations.

Parliament v. Commission

The European Parliament’s Industry committee has proposed a wholesale tariff of 0.015 euro per minute in 2022, which will go down to 0.01 euro in 2025, compared to the Commission’s offer of 0.032 euro and 0.019 euro respectively.

Lawmakers would also like to set wholesale rates for text messages at 0.003 euro per message all through to 2032. The Commission proposed 0.01 euro for 2022, which will go down to 0.003 euro in 2025.

The lawmakers would like to cap data tariffs at 1 euro per gigabyte versus the EU executive’s proposed 2.5 euros in 2022 and 1.5 euros in 2025.

The Commission isn’t progressive enough

Angelika Winzig, the lawmaker steering the discussion through the parliament, said the Commission’s proposal was not progressive enough to reflect the reality of the market where smaller operators have a hard time offering sustainable rates.

She said in a statement that; significantly reducing the wholesale caps is beneficial to the market and consumers. It would enable more competition, which would increase the possibilities of better prices for consumers and enterprises.

The proposals need EU countries’ support to become law. The first meeting between reps and lawmakers will happen on October 26.