EU To Regulate Mobile Roaming Despite Vodafone Offer

European Union telecoms regulators have had their eye on the high roaming rates mobile operators there charge users for some time, and announced in March they were going to take the drastic measure of stepping in to regulate retail and wholesale roaming rates operators charge. Now, in an attempt to head off the governmental interference, both Vodafone and O2 have said they’d slash their rates. But that doesn’t look like it will satisfy the EU, with a spokesperson saying their plans will move ahead. It’s important to keep in mind that the EU helped create this problem with the restrictions it applied to Vodafone’s buyout of German operator Mannesmann several years ago. In a nutshell, the European Competition Commissioner decreed that Vodafone’s competitive advantage in having a pan-European network was too big, and that any reduction in roaming rates it instituted would have to be extended to its rivals for three years. So the EU tinkered with the market, removing any incentive for Vodafone to create new cross-border services. So, having helped foster the problem with heavy-handed regulation, apparently the EU sees more of the same as the solution to fix it.

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