Addressing the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, EC Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes said she is likely to seek new regulations that would lower rates paid by European wireless phone subscribers for mobile data roaming, lamenting that wholesale caps on data services established by the European Commission (EC) in 2007 have done little to bring rates down from “the maximum levels permitted.” Kroes’s speech on Monday follows the EC’s recently-completed public consultation into roaming rates and the need for a new regulatory framework. The EC is currently reviewing comments received through the consultation, and Kroes is expected to use those comments as the basis for a recommendation to be submitted to the European Parliament by the end of June. Although Orange and various other EC wireless firms have recently introduced new data package plans that are intended to significantly pare down the per-megabyte cost of data downloads outside of a customer’s home market, Kroes complained that per-megabyte roaming rates continue to hover around €2.50 (US$3.50) throughout the EU in significant contrast to average home market rates of €0.05 per megabyte. Asserting that steep roaming rates are hindering the EC’s goal of expanding high-speed broadband service throughout the EU by 2020, Kroes said the EC is considering various possible remedies that include (1) the imposition of retail price caps on data roaming that resemble those currently in place for voice services, (2) giving customers the right to buy roaming packages from EU operators other than their own carrier, and (3) setting lower wholesale caps on data roaming. While acknowledging that “incentives to compete on roaming prices are not as strong as the pressures on domestic prices,” Kroes nevertheless maintained: “that is not a justification for the current rip-offs.”