EU Council adopts general approach on Roaming

The Council of Ministers of Transport, Telecommunications and Energy of the European Union (EU) approved a general guideline, in Brussels on 27 November, on the proposal to extend the Regulation on international roaming until 2012 and to broaden its scope to include text messaging (SMS) and data services (for example, Internet access, MMS - Multimedia Messaging Service) used in roaming within the community.

In general terms the Member States welcomed the proposal of the European Commission (EC). The text supported by the Ministers is in favour, with respect to prices charged to end users, as of 1 July 2009, of operators being under obligation to make an ''SMS Eurotariff'' available to their roaming customers, which will be applicable to intra-community SMS roaming communications, subject to the price cap of 11 eurocents (excluding VAT) per message proposed by the EC.

Determined to protect consumers who are confronted by unexpectedly high bills, a proposal was also welcomed whereby operators provide, free of charge to each customer, the option to automatically cut off the provision of data roaming services, whenever a given billing value is reached with respect to the use of this type of communications (this value cannot be less than 50 euros, excluding VAT).

Additionally, the Council supported extending the period of the Eurotariff's application, to intra-community voice calls made or received while roaming, for a further three years, along with the price caps of the tariff proposed by the Commission. These caps will lead to a gradual reduction in the tariff (in the case of calls made, from the current 46 cents per minute to 34 cents per minute by 2012 and, for calls received, from the current 22 cents per minute to 10 cents per minute by 2012).

The European Parliament should take a position, at a first reading, in April 2009.

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Related information on ANACOM's website:

  • Roaming