Feature Article (Pub: December 08) Cap on Mobile Roaming Fees by Paul Rudman

Finally, the European Commission has finally decided to flex its muscles and attention towards fixing the scandalous mobile roaming charges instead of pursuing metric martyrs and wonky vegetables.

The changes, due to come into force across the EU's 27 member nations from July 2009 will not only affect call charges but also data charges which are directly associated with web browsing. The commission is seeking wholesale caps for data roaming with a proposed €1 per megabyte safeguard limit for wholesale data roaming fees which is hoped will stimulate competition and transparent retail prices.

For many years supporters and advocates of mobile web services, including Commercetuned, have been frustrated with the slow consumer take up speed of mobile web having been restricted by high prices for data as operators tried to claw back revenue from the ill fated 3G bidding process. We recently reported figures from Nielsen on the increase use of internet services via mobile phones and the potential impact it could start to have in shaping web search.

We work in a globalised society and the European Union has always tried to model itself as an efficient unified trading block. Therefore it has been ridiculous that on most tariffs in the UK consumers are given unlimited web data access in with operators such as T-mobile (a German owned operator) but if I visit Germany and want to use Google (on T-mobile) to find local information then we are whacked with roaming data fees in excess of £3 per MB or €3.6. We therefore fully endorse this proposal and greet this reduction in data costs as an exciting next step towards a prosperous mobile web....wherever you are.

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