MVNO Europe

MVNO Europe

Rue de la Loi, 38
1000 Brussels, Belgium
Phone: +32 2 789 66 23

Navigation Menu

End of roaming: unexpected side effects for consumers, business users and operators?

End of roaming: unexpected side effects for consumers, business users and operators?

Posted by on Jun 14, 2017 in Uncategorized |


Brussels, June 2017 –  As of June 15, mobile users in Europe will in principle be able to “roam-like-at-home”, under the EU new rules which abolish mobile roaming surcharges across the Union. MVNO Europe has always strongly supported the policy objective of “roam-like-at-home”, and its members are looking forward to offering roaming free offers to their customers. Yet, there might be unexpected side effects for consumers, business users and operators as wholesale regulated roaming caps still remain too high and could lead to competitive unbalances on the markets. Unfortunately, in this context we will not be surprised to see a number of operators applying and qualifying for derogations.

After years of intense negotiations, on the 15th of June, “roam-like-at-home” (RLAH) will come into force across the European Union. MVNO Europe has always strongly supported this policy objective of the European Commission and as MVNO Chair, Jacques Bonifay indicated “MVNOs have always played a crucial role in the past to reduce roaming costs for consumers and enterprises. The principle of offering RLAH is in MVNOs’ DNA.” Our members are ready to offer roaming to their customers at national prices, and many have already launched attractive RLAH offers in their respective markets.

However, we believe that in order to ensure fair market conditions for all players, the end of roaming needed to be accompanied by a strong decrease of wholesale roaming caps so as to better reflect the actual cost of international roaming. “Reducing wholesale caps is a simple measure that works to enable all operators to compete” said J. Bonifay. Today, RLAH is implemented with wholesale caps that are still too high compared to national wholesale pricing for most players in national markets and could cause significant problems for some operators. MVNO Europe has repeatedly flagged this risk to the European Institutions.

In this context, MVNO Europe will not be surprised to see in the future a number of operators applying, and qualifying for a derogation to the application of “roam-like-at-home”, the so-called “sustainability mechanism”, or even see national prices rise in some markets.

Our Vice-President Innocenzo Genna indicated “MVNOs are ready to punctually launch the RLAH regime. However, as we pointed out during the legislative process, the entire mechanism, in particular the wholesale caps, must be strongly revised to eliminate competitive unbalances that, at the end, would be detrimental for the consumer in terms of tariffs, variety of offers and innovation”.

As an association, we call for the European Commission to conduct an in-depth analysis of the impact of the end of roaming surcharges on all market segments, including Internet of Things (IoT), ahead of the launch of the review of the wholesale roaming caps planned for December 2019 and ensure that the regulated caps reflect actual costs.

Read More

Teledema joins MVNO Europe

Teledema joins MVNO Europe

Posted by on Jun 9, 2017 in Uncategorized |


Brussels – We’re pleased to announce that Lithuania’s leading Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) has joined MVNO Europe. Teledema was founded in 2003 and unites people across Lithuania, who can enjoy exceptional attention and great network quality.

Lithuania’s small telecom market is among one of the most developed in Europe. Teledema’s success shows that guaranteeing MVNO access to the market is an appropriate way to maintain a strong level of competition while bringing more innovation on the market.

Driven by a sustainable business growth, Teledema has successfully established itself as the reference MVNO on the Lithuanian market by creating accessible and superior quality offers for users. Along with mobile network, they create SIP telephony solutions designed for business.

Jacques Bonifay, chairman of MVNO Europe, said: “I am delighted to welcome Teledema as new member. Having now a Baltic State on board reassert the willingness of MVNO Europe to be a strong voice for MVNOs and be fully representative of the European landscape”.

Innocenzo Genna, Vice-President, said: “Welcome to Teledema! We are looking forward to working together and pursue our common objective to create a more openly accessible market for all MVNOs.”

Read More

Agreement on roaming wholesale caps: impact on competition and European end-users?

Agreement on roaming wholesale caps: impact on competition and European end-users?

Posted by on Feb 1, 2017 in Uncategorized |

Brussels, 1 February 2017 – Yesterday evening, an agreement was reached between EU lawmakers and Member States on the level of caps for the wholesale roaming charges mobile network operators pay each other when their customers call, send texts or use their data in another EU member State. For wholesale roaming caps, a glide path has been set starting at 7,7€/GB in 2017 going down to 6€/GB in 2018 and 2,5€/GB in 2022. We would like to highlight to great work achieved by the European Parliament Rapporteur Miapetra Kumpula-Natri and Shadow Rapporteurs on the file who have been fighting for low caps in order to preserve competition.

However, despite repeated calls to go lower from the European Parliament, data caps are set at a level which is still too high. This will not only strongly affect competition but lead to higher overall prices for Europeans.

Today in European countries, retail data offers already are at 1 or 2 €/GB. As smaller operators and MVNOs pay wholesale access at the level of EU regulated caps, there is a high risk for these operators not being able to recover their costs. This will have a direct effect on customers: the higher the wholesale caps are, the fewer there will be “Roam-like-at-home” offers for consumers on the market  using prepaid offers or unlimited bundles by virtue of art. 4.2. and 4.3. of the Fair Usage Regulation adopted last year in December.

MVNO Europe Vice-President, Innocenzo Genna stated that “European citizens expect the end of the roaming surcharges to happen without losing competitive tariffs and innovative offers: by contrast, with the present deal on wholesale caps, they will be heavily disappointed”.

With excessive wholesale roaming charges, dominant mobile operators will be the only ones to drive the market, adding barriers for smaller players. MVNOs, being the first-movers in offering innovative services, are therefore crucial for competition adding real value on the telecoms market and to end-users.

Read More

EU roaming regulatory framework at critical crossroads

EU roaming regulatory framework at critical crossroads

Posted by on Dec 2, 2016 in Uncategorized |

This week has been critical for the future of the telecommunications market in Europe. While the European Parliament’s Industry Committee adopted a pro-competitive and forward-looking position on wholesale international mobile roaming on 29 Nov 2016, ministers from the EU Member States adopted a text on 2 Dec 2016 which would allow mobile network operators to apply extremely high wholesale international roaming charges. Parliament focused on the interests of end-users, innovation and competition. Ministers chose to protect large mobile operators. The European Parliament and Council (representing Member States) will now enter, with the support of the European Commission, into protracted so-called trilogue negotiations from very different starting positions.

2 December 2016 – On 29 November, the European Parliament’s Industry Committee adopted its position on the European Commission’s legislative proposal amending Regulation 531/2012. Members of the Industry Committee voted the report of Finnish MEP Miapetra Kumpula-Natri by a very large majority. By putting forward wholesale mobile roaming caps for data at 4€/GB in 2017 and by adopting a “glide path” approach with reductions to 1€/GB, they acknowledged current market reality and foreseeable cost reductions in providing mobile data services in Europe.

Ministers gathered in the Telecoms Council on 2 December adopted a ‘general approach’, which entails wholesale roaming caps for data at 10€/GB in 2017, with reductions over time reaching 5€/GB.

In the context enabling the abolition of retail roaming surcharges on 15 June 2017, as per Regulation 2015/2120 it is important that retail and wholesale measures are connected. This is necessary to enable all operators to compete on the market by lowering the currently regulated wholesale caps. Today’s Council text foresees that these caps for voice, SMS and data, are kept at a higher level than the ones originally proposed by the European Commission and thus much higher than already existing retail offers on the market. This would force smaller operators and MVNOs that are not able to negotiate wholesale roaming access at lower prices to offer roaming services to their consumers with negative margins. Such a situation will lead to their potential eviction from the market and favour large operators that can trade within their own groups for better wholesale deals, reducing competition from challengers, and foreclosing the market for new entrants to the market.

MVNO Europe welcomes, however, the joint declaration made by the “digital like-minded” group of Member States calling for lower wholesale roaming caps. We urge the Council to adopt a flexible approach when negotiating with the European Parliament, to ensure that the EU regulated caps are lowered, reflecting the actual cost of providing wholesale mobile roaming access.

Read More

“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!


Read More

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.





Read More