Roaming costs outside EU take massive hike thanks to ‘Eurotariff’, analysts say


European networks have raised the price of roaming calls into the EU as much as 163 per cent since the introduction of the ‘Eurotariff’ to compensate for the loss of roaming revenues within Europe, according to Informa Telecoms and Media.

Informa Telecoms and Media’s findings are taken from its report, Global Mobile Roaming, Forecasts 2008-2013.

The report says the average price of a call to Italy from Russia was €3.67 (£2.90) a minute in 2006 but has risen 25 per cent, to €4.58, since the Eurotariff came into play as per the European Commission’s crackdown on European roaming prices last year, championed by EU telecoms commissioner Viviane Reding.

A German mobile user outside the EU has seen a 163.7 per cent price increase since 2006 for a call home from Africa.

The EC’s Eurotariff, which came into effect June 30 last year, capped roaming prices at €0.49 a minute for calls made within the EU by subscribers of European mobile operators.

Report author Angela Stainthorpe said that since the EU roaming regulation came into force in June last year, networks have reported roaming revenue declines into the hundreds of millions of Euros.

Said Stainthorpe: “As roaming traffic growth hasn’t kept up with falling tariffs, operators are looking elsewhere to recoup their losses.

“Although only 15 per cent of EU roamers are travelling outside the EU, the high per minute rates they pay for the privilege have had a significant impact on roaming strategy. In some cases, countries that were once relatively unimportant to EU operators have now been elevated to prime position purely as a result of their contribution to roaming revenues.”

The European Commission said it was concerned about the increase in charges, but that it has no legal instrument to legislate outside the 27 EU member states.

UK regulator Ofcom is working with the European Regulator Group (ERG), which represents the regulators of both EU and non-EU European countries, in “monitoring the situation” regarding the cost of roaming outside the EU. The ERG has collected data about retail and wholesale roaming charges outside the EU in reports covering Q2, 3 and 4 of 2007 and Q1 this year.