back to article Cheer up UK mobile grumblers. It's about to get even pricier

You may not think being a mobile phone customer in Britain is much fun, what with rural Not Spots, the world's most irritating advertising campaigns*, and LTE arriving later (and rolling out slower) than anywhere else. Readers are quick to complain. But you actually get a better deal than you think. So enjoy it while you can, …

So the cost of porn on my mobile increases ???

Is that the bottom line here?

4
0

Not a problem with higher prices...

... provided they translate to better quality of service.

Back home in Portugal, I can get 4G pretty much almost everywhere and the service on any of the operators is generally quite good.

Yes, it's more expensive (and none of the three operators offer unlimited data packages, for example), but I, for one, would be willing to pay a bit more to get a decent service.

3
0

Other way round, I think,

>Which meant low income were subsidising EU travellers with expense accounts ...

>which is hardly a progressive move.

I think the situation was more that EU travellers with expense accounts had previously been subsidising low income mobile users, and the impact of the regulation of roaming charges reduced the level of these subsidies, honestly. Margins on roaming were (and in the case of non-EU roaming, still are) huge, and mobile operators were using these to subsidise their very competitive, high-capex, low margin domestic businesses. Various decisions - both regulatory and operator led - caused the industry to evolve with this structure, but I don't think the result was either healthy or sustainable. For one thing, it discouraged the large number of travellers who are paying their own phone bills and who do not have expense accounts from using mobile services at all, even though the infrastructure is there, the service was likely to be useful to them, and the price they would be willing to pay is considerably more than the marginal cost to operators of providing for it. The operators were making so much money from travellers with expense accounts that they were willing to forgo this business, but the trouble was that the regulatory structure prevented anyone else from bidding for it.

Ms Kroes' solution - which led to regulators setting prices, basically - was a bad one, but it was an attempt to address a real problem. Good solutions would have instead involved networks being able to bid on price for incoming roaming customers. You travel to Germany and receive a text from each German operator stating the price of roaming to them. You then reply with another text choosing an operator, and you are charged the rates of that operator. Something like that. Possibly you also have the ability to nominate the choice on a website or app before you travel. (This still leaves the issue of what exactly your local operator charges for forwarding your calls when you are away and for billing you later, but this is a smaller issue to resolve).

6
1

Re: Other way round, I think,

You just described "local breakout" - another thing the EC mandated. Unfortunately they then introduced a cap on roaming rates which killed the local breakout business before it got going. Although it wasn't killed until after all the operators had spent millions adjusting their systems to support it of course....

0
0
Silver badge

Re: Other way round, I think,

FWIW the European Commission was forced to act because they discovered evidence of illegal collusion between operators over roaming. The initial suggestion was drafted by Viviane Reding with Kroes just involved in crossing some t's and dotting some i's.

The Commission has little say over mergers within countries but transnational operators are considered an expression of the single market. If only the EU had been as successful in energy markets.

4
0

Re: Other way round, I think,

>FWIW the European Commission was forced to act because they discovered evidence

>of illegal collusion between operators over roaming.

I'm not disputing any of this. To it I would add that the way GSM roaming was initially set up - itself a regulatory matter, although one in which the regulators probably just rubber stamped what the operators and equipment manufacturers presented them with - positively encouraged this kind of collusion. Something clearly had to change, and the operators deserved to have someone crack down on them, but I don't think what we got - regulatory price fixing - was the right way for things to change.

0
0
Silver badge

Re: Other way round, I think,

but I don't think what we got - regulatory price fixing - was the right way for things to change

I agree but it happened because the networks were too stupid and greedy to prevent it. The lobbying post 2003 essentially kept revenues high for a few years in return for regulation later, which for most CEOs and shareholders would then be somebody else's problem. This can be compared to the way banks avoided regulation of Euro area bank charges.

2
0
Facepalm

Seriously?

"And voters thanked her by embracing UKIP and far right fringe groups"

Is it seriously being suggested that people have embraced these groups because Steelie Neelie fiddled with roaming charges? I bet I could go out in my local town centre right now ask 100 random people if they know who Neelie Kroes is and not one of them would respond with a yes.

19
0

Re: Seriously?

But then again you could go and ask the same group about EU legislation and most of them wouldn't be able to tell you what EU legislation was the cause of the issues.

Most people are ignorant about the EU and believe whatever simple arguments are given to them because it is to hard to understand the complexities. More people believe that the EHCR is part of the EU than believe in Father Christmas.

That said I doubt that anyone supports UKIP because of mobile phone charges.

1
0
(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Seriously?

No, of course not.

But Ryan Heath (author of "Steelie Neelie: The Best of @NeelieKroesEU" and her spokesperson at the time) told me that any MEP who voted against the Telecomms Package would have to face to the wrath of the voters. He genuinely thought that when people vote in European elections, this is how they base their decisions.

I'm making the comparison to show the difference between how Eurocrats think the world works, and what really happens in real life.

0
0
Silver badge
Thumb Down

Puff piece

PAYG in Germany is cheaper and offers more than the UK. The market is only just starting to consolidate from four operators to three and there is a very healthy MVNO market. Free internet on trains for all is on its way (already the case in the Netherlands). And yet I never read sob stories like this about how hard done by the networks are.

The only thing the UK suffers from is lack of investment when the going was good.

2
1
Gold badge

I suppose we can't really complain about the UK market. We've just switched the company phones to a new EE 4G tariff. We're paying £15 a month (ex VAT) for unlimited calls and texts plus 2GB of data. There's no handsets on that, we have to buy our own, but my iPhone 5 still works, and I can get a decent Lumia or 'Droid for under £200.

My Mum's just signed up with Tesco (is that O2?) for £7.50 a month (inc VAT) and is getting a Lumia 730 plus 750 minutes, 1,000 texts and about 200MB of data. That's a pretty stonkingly good deal, and I think she could double the data for half the minutes if she preferred.

2
0
JC_

No Lack of Hyperbole Here

Brussels' muddled competition policy has reflected the worst of all possible worlds.

Worse than Mexico, where America Movil has over 70% market share which costs Mexico an estimated "$25 billion per year" and which has made its owner the richest man in the world?

In fact, which large country has a better competition policy than the EU?

2
0

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Forums

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2017