The “Connected Continent” Legislative Package
The technological advances and the shifting towards internet-based economies over the last years have highlighted the growing need of designing a unified European telecom market. The european business sector was noticeably affected by the fragmentation of the telecom market, and the consumers were facing the problem of high costs using roaming services.
However, The European Commission took major steps since 2007 to implement a strategy that, on long term, was aimed precisely at solving these issues. In 2013, the Commission proposed a “Connected Continent ” legislative package that targeted several goals, including simplification of regulation for companies, encouraging more competition, guaranteeing of net neutrality, pushing roaming premiums out of the market and ensuring more coordination of spectrum usem (that will allow, inter alia, more 4G investment and more wireless broadband).
Jose Manuel Barroso, European Commission President, stated in September this year: “Further substantial progress towards a European single market for telecoms is essential for Europe’s strategic interests and economic progress, for the telecoms sector itself and for citizens who are frustrated that they do not have full and fair access to internet and mobile services.”
EU Data Roaming Regulations
The regulation entered into force on 30 June 2007. From this date on, mobile phone operators within the European Union were required to inform customers about the new tariffs (called “Eurotariff”) within one month (i.e. by 31 July 2007) and provide an offer for switching to the new tariff. If a customer responded to this offer, the mobile phone operator had to switch them to the new tariff within at most one month. If they did not respond, the new tariff automatically applied the latest on 30 September 2007, unless a special roaming package applied. The ceilings or Eurotariff gradually decreases every year. Operators are able to compete below maximum allowed level.
According to the EU regulations, “operators have to send users a warning when they reach 80% of their data-roaming bill limit and cut off the mobile internet connection once the limit has been reached, unless the customer has indicated they want to continue data roaming that particular month. Maximum end-user price cap for data roaming have been introduced at 45 cents per Megabyte.”
Where do these regulations apply? Inside all the countries of the European Economic Area. More specific, all 28 countries of the European Union and three out of four countries from the European Free Trade Association (Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein).