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back to article Steelie Neelie wants roaming charges gone by Easter 2014

Neelie Kroes, the vice-president of the European Commission with responsibility for its “Digital Agenda for Europe” has called for international roaming charges across the Eurozone to end from Easter 2014. Speaking last week before the European Parliament's Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) Committee, Kroes called …

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WTF?

Countless, Needless, Artificial Obstacles

Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't she a major cog in the organization that creates vast numbers of those sorts of obstacles?

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Re: Countless, Needless, Artificial Obstacles

There are indeed many obstacles. I think that artificial ones like intellectual property, and the quenching monopolies we are seeing today, is what is holding us back. Roaming charges is one of those things that companies like to use to make extra profits, but they are inappropriate in a modern world. I would hope that readers here would embrace a progressive digital agenda - even if it doesn't go as far as some of us would like.

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Re: Countless, Needless, Artificial Obstacles

Prepare to be corrected - the European Commission has a tiny budget in comparison to the bureaucracies of nation states. It is an easy target for populist media but very few of the allegations made about it ever hold water. Increased competition, common minimal standards (which would have prevented BSE if Britain hadn't weaseled) and legal redress across borders, obviously nobody wants these things.

As part of ensuring there is a single market the Commission was instrumental in mandating a single standard for mobile communications which is why roaming is even possible.

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Happy

Re: Countless, Needless, Artificial Obstacles

So she only creates useful obstacles then? No matter the size of their budget they are still a government mandated regulatory bureaucracy which by definition means fabricating obstacles (for someone) using tax money.

Not that I think all regulation is bad mind, she is however serving as the quintessential definition of hypocrisy and that bugs me to no end.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Countless, Needless, Artificial Obstacles

"Prepare to be corrected - the European Commission has a tiny budget in comparison to the bureaucracies of nation states."

I don't think the OP said that the EC had a big budget, it was more about the span of control and volume of legislation. And in that respect the EU as an institution is culpable in many areas, setting standards and requiring new national laws in many areas. So although we in the UK already had the best water quality in Europe, the various Drinking Water Directives have progressively caused UK water users to pay extra billions of quid to meet Brussel's ideas of what our water ought to be like. In electricity, half of the UK's reserve capacity is being shut down to comply with the EU Large Combustion Plant Directive, albeit that it is all enacted through national leglisation.

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Re: Countless, Needless, Artificial Obstacles

No - I think you fundamentally misunderstand the role of the EU in trade. It's almost as if the press in the UK don't give a true picture of what's afoot.

For trade to flourish and access to new markets to be equal, there has to be a level playing field. Everyone who agrees to play by the rules gets unfettered access to the market. The role of the EU in this context is to determine - with input from all the member states - what those rules should be.

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When people think bad of you..

Promise them golden mountains.

That is what's happening here. Roaming charges have been a topic of debate for years now. But here and now things have suddenly changed so dramatically that a change is required?

Surely this has nothing to do with the fact that the opinion on one Europe has hit rock bottom recently?

Yeah right...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: When people think bad of you..

Your a skeptic, fine I get it, but you should check your facts first.. Steelie "Balls" Neelie has a track record of going up against the mobile Telco's. Popularist or not, she does try to give the consumer a better deal!

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Re: When people think bad of you..

The UK has some issues with its outlook on Europe - don't make the mistake of thinking that such views are widely held across the continent however.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: When people think bad of you..

Terry, I'm an optimist, the UK sceptics are just a minority with very loud drums. This minority scream at the top of their lungs, the press pay see a "free lunch" and run it as a nationally important story. The problem these people have is they cannot offer any suitable alternative that will give us the same influence and exporting power.

But then perhaps I'm wrong and the optimists are the minority, but I hope not!

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If you're going to do this, why not abolish international call charges for landlines too? I think roaming charges should be both clear and reasonable (which is not always the case, at present), but no doubt the mobile operators need to get their profits from somewhere, and what they can't recover from roaming charges will have to be recouped by increases in their standard rates. If your job/lifestyle requires/permits you to 'enjoy' foreign travel, is it right that those who can't afford it should subsidise your phone costs while you're abroad?

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Anonymous Coward

You're wrong

By abolishing roaming "doesnt automatically" mean increasing local charges. Its just the extra windfall profits these telcos make under guise of admin/foreign telco charges etc.

Take this example. TalkTalk has plan allowing/inclusive free international calls to 36 countries. yet if wanto to call my neighbout next door, am levied 8 plus pence!

How do you justify that?

Swings and roundabouts.

Let Telcos just be the dumb pipes and make their profits on value added services. No need to be the blue eyed boy on the block, having monopolies and control freakeries on their minds, as is the cas enow.

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From the EU's point of view, anything that restricts commerce and communication within the EU is A Bad Thing, and roaming charges definitely do create a quantifiable cost to doing business with other countries in the single market. (As well as less quantifiable costs - e.g. long distance relationships.)

The fact that lots of mobile companies already operate across the EU, but split themselves into different companies for different countries, also looks a bit fishy - one can easily imagine profits being shifted into "safer" countries, and vice-versa for costs.

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Holmes

Roaming charges are an example of gouging. When licences were bid for, roaming profits were excluded from the calculations. All monies earned, presumably moved around by the multinational operators for the most tax-efficient treatment, are not used to keep national charges low but to increase profits.

The reason why landlines are not quite the same is down to termination fees, though within Europe they are approaching the same for most users. This has, of course, been helped by the Commission forcing through the wholesale telco market, something which it is trying to introduce to mobile.

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I think a lot of the splitting into separate companies is to avoid being taxed on the same assets or profits by more than one country at the same time.

You can experience this on a personal level by spending six months of the year in France and six in the UK. Both countries will levy income tax on the totality of your annual income and you'll end up with a tax bill (once you take NI and council tax into account) that is greater than your salary.

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Facepalm

Great

Cue thunderous noise of beancounters in every telecoms company in 27 countries counting beans and price rises on national calls to compensate. But at least they'll be harmonised price rises.

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Re: Great

To do so would be to engage in price-fixing… which is illegal but the responsibility of national regulators.

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I like her

Denmark is far cheaper on every possible level because their country sorted out their nationa l telco's, it is something like 6p a minute on all telco's. (was a few years back)

The same can be said in many other countries, so if you remove roaming charges you will see that there is a massive variation caused by roaming. Just like making a single currency, you realise one country has it working perfectly and another is robbing you blind.

Bring it on and let market force sort it out, if that means another UK robbing scum monopoly gets bought out by a better, sleaker and more organised Euro company, so be it.

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I'd rather see

the end of artifical paywall from landline / SIP into the mobile telecoms racket. Mobile operators run a borderline cartel forcing you to buy an inclusive-minutes contract to get sane prices calling their customers.

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Re: I'd rather see

That is certainly not the case in Germany. Anyway, termination fees are determined by national regulators.

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When SIMs disappear all I need is my number to roam

All I need is a portable NUMBER and the ability to port my SIM-less phone seamlessly across borders while retaining that one number. Buying minutes and data should then become en entirely virtual activity and competition should see to the rest.

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Re: When SIMs disappear all I need is my number to roam

What you're asking for though is something that isn't a telephone - or at least not a PSTN device. Without a SIM, how would the network be able to tie together your device and your number?

I'm not suggesting that the thing you want is undesirable, but I'm not sure how removing a SIM improves your life any, all it does it break how current networks operate.

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Stop

Re: When SIMs disappear all I need is my number to roam

SIM-less phones?

CDMA.

You don't want to go there.

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