On the 6th April 2017, the European Parliament (“EP”) approved the maximum wholesale roaming charges which telecoms operators can charge each other across the EU.
Previously, the EP and the Council agreed that by the 15th June 2017, roaming charges should end. However, in order to implement this ambitious project, addressing the following was required:
- “Retail” roaming charges, that is, roaming charges which operators charge to their customers (B2C); and
- “Wholesale” roaming charges, that is, roaming charges which operators charge to each other (B2B).
In relation to retail roaming charges, Regulation 2015/2020 was promulgated on the 26th October 2015 and sets out that retail roaming charges are to be abolished.
In relation to wholesale roaming charges, the EP approved the following caps:
- 3.2 cents per minute of voice call, as of 15 June 2017
- 1 cent per SMS, as of 15 June 2017
- A step by step reduction over 5 years for data caps decreasing from €7.7 per GB (as of 15 June 2017) to €6 per GB (as of 1 January 2018), €4.5 per GB (as of 1 January 2019), €3.5 per GB (as of 1 January 2020), €3 per GB (as of January 2021) and €2.5 per GB (as of January 2022).
Following the EP’s political approval, the EP and the Council will have to formally approve the text agreed between them and the European Commission. New rules will need to become applicable in time for carriers to provide “roam like at home” as from the 15th June 2017.