A coalition of progressive mobile network operators (MNOs) and virtual operators (MVNOs) welcome the significant cut in the fees users pay when roaming in Europe from 30 April 2016, as a first step towards the total abolition of retail roaming surcharges.

However, a great deal of work still needs to be done by the European Commission, European Parliament and Council to deliver on the political promise to achieve roam-like-at-home across Europe by 15 June 2017. In this context, we call for a strong reduction of the current levels of the regulated wholesale roaming caps to allow all operators to compete on the market.

Roaming coalition: covers more than 70 million SIM cards across Europe and represents pro-competitive MNOs such as Free, H3G, RCS&RDS and Play, MVNO Europe members (including Cubic Telecom, Cyta Hellas, Euro Information Telecoms, Fastweb, Liberty Global (incl. VirginMedia UK and IE), PosteMobile, Sierra Wireless, Sky, Transatel, Ventocom and Voiceworks), and other MVNOs CoopVoce and TalkTalk.

The effective introduction of roam-like-at-home in Europe depends on a review, by the European Commission, of the wholesale roaming market. Such a review is crucial to allow all operators to fairly compete with each other and for smaller players to continue to offer price-competitive, innovative offers to European consumers and businesses. The European Commission needs to come up with a legislative proposal by 15 June 2016, at the latest, to review the wholesale roaming market to allow sufficient time for the legislative process with the European Parliament and Council to be completed for the 15 June 2017 deadline.

As European wholesale international roaming charges are currently unjustifiably higher than domestic wholesale prices, the review should radically reduce the levels of the current regulated wholesale roaming caps set in the 2012 Roaming Regulation (the maximum prices an operator has to pay to the visited network operator when its users are roaming abroad). Without any further steep reduction of the regulated wholesale caps, a large number of mobile operators may decide or be forced to impose restrictions to users when roaming abroad through complex and unfriendly contractual clauses. This would be a disappointing outcome for European users, and it should be avoided at all costs. It would also go against the European Parliament’s repeated calls to end roaming surcharges once and for all.

Coalition members are committed to pursue their efforts to enable the full abolition of mobile roaming surcharges in Europe and bring more innovative services to European users in a healthy telecoms market.


Morgane Taylor / morgane@mvnoeurope.eu / +32 (0) 2 550 41 10