European Commission (EC) Information Society and Media Commissioner Viviane Reding confirmed Tuesday that the EC is preparing to introduce legislation that would extend to SMS roaming caps on wholesale and retail rates that resemble those enacted last year for mobile voice roaming. Charging that roaming rates for mobile text messages sent throughout the European Union far exceed actual costs, Reding urged EU wireless carriers earlier this year to slash SMS roaming rates voluntarily by July 1 or else face potential regulatory remedies. Noting that a handful of EU mobile phone operators have heeded her call and that SMS roaming rates remain largely unchanged, Reding said the EC would submit a formal legislative proposal this fall to slash average rates by as much as 70%, with the goal of bringing a final directive into effect by next summer. The draft legislation is reported to have the support of the European Regulators Group, a body comprised of the EU’s 27 national telecom regulators that has tallied current average EU SMS roaming costs at € 0.29 per message (U.S. 46 cents per message). Under the proposal, retail roaming rates for text messages would be capped at € 0.11- € 0.15, with wholesale rates not to exceed € 0.04 - € 0.08. Reding also called on the industry to reduce voluntarily data roaming rates, as she warned that the EC would also consider adding caps on data roaming to the draft bill. Although Reding asserted that “EU citizens should be free to text across borders without being ripped off,” the GSM Association, on behalf of the industry, pointed to statistics showing that average EU SMS roaming rates have declined by 18% during the past year.