Roaming fees. One of those evils that seem oh so necessary for many travelers. global SIM cards help to alleviate a lot of the problems with the dreaded “bill shock” as these carriers fight to lower the costs that cause the problem once and for all.
Now it seems they’re not alone, at least as far as the European Union is concerned. As we reported before, European Commissioner Neelie Kroes is against roaming fees within the region. It was announced in June that prices would be lowered on July 1, which indeed they were. It appears, though, that these fee drops are only the beginning.
Mrs. Kroes and her staff appear to be edging closer to a deal that could abolish the fees, which make up an estimated 5 percent of operators’ sales, and a larger portion of profits. An incentive contained within the draft regulation being presented to members of the European Commission holds the key: incentives for carriers to lower international roaming costs to equal that of domestic roaming.
This incentive would provide exemption from the law passed last year that allows customers to buy roaming service in bulk from European operators even outside their own country. This could allow customers more flexibility and allow them to choose a carrier that provides the lowest possible rates.
Of course, on the flipside, some carriers have objected to this new regulation, as it carries the potential risk of losing customers — and therefore profits — to carriers that offer lower rates, which could eventually lead to the elimination of the fees altogether, which is exactly what Kroes and many other Parliamentary members have in mind. Fees are still an obstacle in the continent, and it could take some drastic measures to get them under control, but doing so could increase the adoption of cloud-based mobile services in the EU region.
Of course, the attempts at dissolving roaming fees in Europe faces more walls than the carriers put up. The EU Parliament and others would have to express its support for the effort as well. We’ll find out more in September, when the full Parliament is scheduled to discuss the issue and when Mrs. Kroes is expected to present details of her plan. Until then, there’s always the option of lower cost international carriers.