Three urges minister to back lower EU data roaming cap


Operator and six other organisations tell communications minister Ed Vaizey to push for lower data roaming cap in vote on new EU rules this week

Three has joined with consumer group Which? and five trade organisations in writing an open letter urging communications Minister Ed Vaizey (pictured) to vote for lower caps on data roaming charges in the EU.

The letter, signed by Three CEO David Dyson, argues that the European Commission’s “Roaming III” plan to cap the amount operators can charge other networks for data roaming could still see customers saddled with bills of £400 for 1GB of data, compared to £10 for domestic use.

The European Commission’s vote on the new rules, which are designed to extend until 2022, is scheduled for later this week.

Three and the other organisations say that an amendment proposed by MEPs which calls for a 10 euro cent per megabyte cap, which would fall to five euro cents per megabyte within three years of the rules being introduced, is a better option.

This, say the signatories to the letter, would ensure that travellers would pay less than £100 for a gigabyte of data while travelling.

The letter says: “The Commission is proposing a wholesale cap more than 10 times higher than domestic retail prices.

“This means that if the proposals become reality, using the internet on your mobile phone in Europe could end up costing more than the trip itself.

“Data usage on mobile devices is exploding and the Commission’s proposals in their current form do not address the demand for data in 2012, never mind 2022.

“These pricing levels do not encourage competition and hence could put the brakes on growth and competition in the EU.

“We urge you to use your vote in the European Council to support an even greater reduction in data prices for people and businesses travelling abroad.”

The other signatories to the letter are the Federation for Small Businesses, Federation of Communication Services, Communications Management Association, uSwitch and the International Telecommunications Users Group.