Brussels, 2 September 2020 – MVNO Europe welcomes EC Commissioner Breton’s call for the prolongation of the Roam-like-at-Home regime as well as the Commission’s intention to set optimal levels of wholesale roaming caps in order to enable consumer welfare and the sustainability of MVNOs and smaller operators.

On the 1st of October, the European Commissioner for the Internal Market Thierry Breton had an exchange of views with the European Parliament’s Industry, Research and Energy Committee about the state of play of upcoming legislative initiatives in the digital realm. During this session, the Commissioner responded to members of parliament’s questions on the current Roaming Regulation, the so-called Roam-Like-At-Home regime.

Thierry Breton stated that the Commission is currently analysing how it can ensure the prolongation of Roam-Like-At-Home and make sure that consumers keep benefiting from the freedom allowed by these rules while defining an optimal level of wholesale caps allowing for the sustainability of MVNOs and smaller operators, and new investments. Furthermore, Mr Breton stated that the Commission will attempt to take the developments stemming from the Internet of Things (IoT) and Machine-to-Machine (M2M) into account in its reflection leading to the revision of the Roaming Regulation.

MVNO Europe warmly welcomes the Commissioner’s statement on the necessity of finding optimal levels of wholesale caps. Indeed, as unilateral buyers of wholesale roaming access, it is absolutely crucial for MVNOs that wholesale roaming caps are set at a level that is reasonable and in line with market realities. Preventing MVNOs and small operators from facing exorbitant wholesale charges applied by Mobile Network Operators will in turn boost the competitiveness of the Single Market, resulting in a more diversified range of options for end-users.

The well-intended caps instituted in the Roaming Regulation for maximum wholesale charges have proven to be far too high to prevent predictable market dysfunctions and to ensure fair competition at wholesale level (large Mobile Network Operators trade wholesale roaming among one-another at far lower prices than the price at which MVNOs can purchase the same, as is evidenced by BEREC. While retail roaming traffic increased exponentially, wholesale prices paid by MVNOs to Mobile Network Operators decreased only moderately and remained close to the regulated maximum (i.e. far beyond real costs of providing wholesale roaming services).

To remedy this unsustainable situation and to enable growth and innovation going forward, MVNO Europe proposes to extend the Roaming Regulation beyond its expiry date of 30 June 2022 and to proceed to a revision of wholesale roaming caps that reflect true market realities and genuine underlying costs. In particular MVNO Europe proposes to reduce the caps for data from the current 3.5 EUR per Gigabyte (3 EUR per Gigabyte in 2021 and 2.5 EUR per Gigabyte in 2022) to values as follows:

  • 2022:   0.75 EUR/GB
  • 2023:   0.50 EUR/GB
  • 2024:   0.25 EUR/GB

A reform of the retail Fair Use Policy regime associated with the Roaming Regulation is also required to ensure that MVNOs can compete on fair terms.

MVNO Europe’s proposal will ensure that all operators are able to sustain Roam-Like-At-Home at the retail level, and that Pan-EU IoT markets can develop, to the ultimate benefit of citizens and businesses as end-users, and to enable public administrations to serve their constituencies well.