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“We’re working to achieve fairer access conditions” – MVNO Europe at London Networking Congress

“We’re working to achieve fairer access conditions” – MVNO Europe at London Networking Congress

Posted by on Nov 3, 2016 in Uncategorized |


On 1st and 2nd November 2016, MVNO Europe secretariat and members participated to the MVNO Networking Congress in London. MVNO Europe debated with industry stakeholders key points concerning the MVNO sector: the end of retail roaming surcharges, the transition to 4G and 5G, and the business perspectives in IoT services brought by the new eSIM standard.

In a panel on roaming, Morgane Taylor, Policy Officer at MVNO Europe indicated that if the end of retail roaming fees could open opportunities for MVNOs with expected surges in traffic volumes, a lot of uncertainty remained on the wholesale roaming markets. The impact of ‘roam-like-a-home’ on MVNOs is unclear and will depend on the on-going negotiations at European level. The European Commission proposal on the table to review the EU regulated wholesale roaming caps will lead to serious disruption of competition and force MVNOs to withdraw their most generous data-led offers. Much work still needs to be done in the months to come to ensure that all operators, including innovative players such as MVNOs, can continue to compete on the markets.

Our member Franz Delpont from Euro Information Telecom debated, in a panel with MVNOs Talk Talk and Virgin Mobile Polska, on the future of communications services in light of the 4G transition as well as future developments on 5G. It is crucial for MVNOs to participate in the take-up of the latest standard and be able to provide cutting-edge technology to their customers. MVNOs are too often barred from offering higher value-added services and standards.

MVNO Europe Chair Jacques Bonifay (Transatel) gave exciting perspectives for MVNOs on the IoT segment, as the eSIM standard is being integrated. Nevertheless, MVNOs need to remain vigilant at business and policy levels as to make sure the value proposition will not shift to device manufacturers in the future.

We’re looking forward participating in future Informa MVNO Events, the MVNO World Congress in Nice, 24-27 April 2017!


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End of roaming surcharges: a corresponding ambition is needed at wholesale level

End of roaming surcharges: a corresponding ambition is needed at wholesale level

Posted by on Oct 26, 2016 in Uncategorized |


The “Roaming Coalition”, bringing together European competitive operators representing more than 70 million SIM cards, calls for sustainable conditions on the wholesale roaming market to enable fair competition as retail mobile roaming surcharges are scrapped.

The caps agreed today amongst Member States go against the underlying economics of operators at wholesale level, with a cap for data at 10€/GB on the wholesale market, while common existing retail offers have prices as low as 1€/GB.

A need for coherence between retail prices, wholesale caps and wholesale costs is supported by the Body of European Regulators in Electronic Communications (BEREC), in its recent opinion on the draft FUP act and sustainability of the abolition of retail roaming surcharges: “Retail price ≥ wholesale charge ≥ wholesale cost […] since Roam-like-at-Home (RLAH) necessitates that international roaming retail prices are set equal to domestic prices, entails that domestic retail prices in all EEA Member States should exceed wholesale roaming charges and at the same time the wholesale roaming caps should exceed the wholesale roaming costs”. 

It can be seen from current retail offers on EU markets that the actual cost of supplying data at wholesale level is in fact much lower than claimed by the European Commission’s Impact Assessment, in particular for data. An International Telecommunications Union (ITU) report from 2015 shows that there are little justifiable additional costs, in practice, for the provision of international roaming compared to domestic roaming.

MVNO Europe has compiled figures comparing  EU institutions wholesale caps proposals, the Commission’s impact assessment and retail domestic data pricing in 7 EU countries, namely Spain, Malta, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Latvia and Bulgaria.

It is also essential to note that the shift to 4G-LTE means that the average price per GB will continue to decline sharply in the next years.

In this context, the Coalition welcomes and supports the draft report on the revision of the rules for wholesale roaming markets presented by the European Parliament Rapporteur MEP Miapetra Kumpula-Natri, as well as today’s agreement in Parliament on a glide path for data caps. The report proposes strong reductions of wholesale roaming caps, as well as a periodic review thereof, and contains an explanatory statement which correctly recognises the intrinsic connection between an extended retail Fair Use Policy and the level of wholesale roaming caps. In light of the Fair Use Policy proposals published on 26 September 2016, we consider that to ensure competition and end-user benefits, the wholesale roaming caps should be reduced to an even lower level.

Strongly reduced wholesale caps are essential to make it possible for European end-users to continue to use large data bundles, fully benefit from innovative services going forward, and take advantage of a European digital single market.

Please refer to the Roaming Coalition full position and MVNO Europe’s demonstration on retail data prices vs. proposals currently on the table.





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5G: a vibrant competitive market is the best guarantee for optimal services take-up

5G: a vibrant competitive market is the best guarantee for optimal services take-up

Posted by on Jul 12, 2016 in Uncategorized |

The European Commission’s consultation on the coordinated introduction of 5G networks in Europe ended on 11 July. Our contribution aims at recalling the key role of MVNO in ensuring that investments for deploying 5G networks are best translated into actual benefits for the end-users.

It is clear that the considerable investments needed for the deployment of 5G should be incentivised. However, this cannot be done by means of deregulation or regulatory forbearance. Investment requirements do not as such justify forbearance from promoting competition, the internal market, end-user interests, and concomitant wholesale-level regulation (e.g. of national roaming/wholesale MVNO access). A vibrantly competitive market, including MVNOs – who need to be innovative to be able to exist on the market -, is the best guarantee to promote innovation, cross-border solutions and, crucially, take-up of services by users.

We are looking forward to the Commission’s actions aimed at encouraging the deployment of 5G in a healthy and competitive telecom market.

European Commission's vision of 5G

European Commission’s vision of 5G

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Une coalition d’opérateurs mobiles européens alternatifs réclame la fin effective des frais d’itinérance

Une coalition d’opérateurs mobiles européens alternatifs réclame la fin effective des frais d’itinérance

Posted by on May 3, 2016 in Uncategorized |


Une coalition d’opérateurs de réseau mobiles (MNO) et d’opérateurs virtuels (MVNO) compétitifs accueille positivement la réduction significative des frais d’itinérance internationaux pour les usagers en Europe à partir du 30 avril 2016 – une première étape essentielle vers leur abolition totale.

Cependant, un travail important reste à effectuer de la part de la Commission européenne, du Parlement européen et du Conseil pour concrétiser l’engagement politique de la fin des frais d’itinérance en Europe au 15 juin 2017. Dans ce cadre, nous appelons à une forte réduction des plafonds actuels sur le marché de gros de l’itinérance dans l’UE afin de maintenir le niveau de concurrence pour les consommateurs.

La Coalition pour la fin effective des frais d’itinérance couvre près de 70 millions de cartes SIM à travers l’Europe et représente des opérateurs pro-concurrentiels tels que Free, H3G et Play, les membres de MVNO Europe (Cubic Telecom, Cyta Hellas, Euro Information Telecoms, Fastweb, Liberty Global, PosteMobile, Sierra Wireless, Sky, Transatel, Ventocom et Voiceworks), ainsi que les MVNO CoopVoce et TalkTalk.

L’abolition effective des suppléments d’itinérance en Europe dépend de la révision, par la Commission européenne, du marché de gros au niveau européen. Une telle révision est cruciale pour permettre à tous les opérateurs de rester compétitifs, de proposer des offres innovantes et bon marché aux entreprises et aux consommateurs européens. Il est indispensable que la Commission européenne propose un texte législatif d’ici le 15 juin 2016, au plus tard, pour réformer le marché de gros et accorder suffisamment de temps au Parlement européen et au Conseil pour conclure la procédure législative en amont de la date limite du 15 juin 2017.

Alors que les frais d’itinérance internationaux sur le marché de gros sont indûment plus élevés que les tarifs de gros domestiques, il importe que la réforme mène à une baisse drastique des plafonds tarifaires actuels tels qu’ils ont été fixés dans le Règlement « Roaming » de 2012 (c’est-à-dire le prix maximal qu’un opérateur doit payer lorsque ses clients utilisent un réseau étranger). Sans une réduction sensible des plafonds de gros, une part importante des opérateurs mobiles se verront contraints d’imposer des restrictions à leurs usagers lorsqu’ils voyagent en Europe, dans des clauses contractuelles complexes et non avenantes. Cela irait à l’encontre de l’intérêt des consommateurs, porté par la volonté forte du Parlement européen de supprimer définitivement les frais d’itinérance.

Les membres de la Coalition sont déterminés à poursuivre leurs efforts vers l’abolition totale des suppléments d’itinérance en Europe et à apporter plus de services innovants aux consommateurs européens dans un environnement télécom compétitif.


Morgane Taylor / / +32 (0) 2 550 41 10

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Reforming the wholesale roaming market

Reforming the wholesale roaming market

Posted by on Feb 25, 2016 in Uncategorized |


MVNO Europe has always strongly advocated the end of retail roaming charges in Europe. However, an effective ‘roaming-free’ Europe is conditioned to a substantial reduction of regulated international roaming wholesale caps.

Why does MVNO Europe demand a reform of wholesale caps?

 MVNOs do not host inbound roamers on their networks and hence are unilateral buyers of wholesale roaming access. Although significant purchases are made, MVNOs have essentially no bargaining power to negotiate international roaming deals with individual Mobile Network Operators (MNOs). Today, wholesale international roaming charges are a large multiple of domestic wholesale roaming prices and this should be considered alarming with a view to the introduction of roam-like-at-home (RLAH). In a context of gradual suppression of retail roaming surcharges, MVNOs face a risk of margin squeeze and thus market eviction, should the wholesale caps be not adequatly reduced.

How has MVNO Europe worked with policymakers?

Since 2013, MVNO Europe has advocated for a true Telecom Single Market and its members have been actively engaged in the decision-making process at European level.  Supporting the underlying assumption that a Digital Single Market needs a truly unified telecom market to thrive, we have recalled on many occasions that this must not be done at the expense of competition. As part of our engagement activities, MVNO Europe has responded to the consultation on measures related to the end of roaming surcharges in Europe, providing the Commission with evidences on how crucial a reform of the wholesale market is to smaller mobile operators.

What are the next steps?

 MVNO Europe continues to provide input to the European Commission to help in its on-going work to achieve the end of retail roaming surcharges. We also work on issues that are closely interlinked with the regulation of roaming, such as the convergence of Mobile Termination Rates and specific rules for Machine-to-Machine connectivity. Today, more than ever, we are dedicated to achieving a healthy competitive telecoms market.

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