EU Roaming Mandates take effect – HIGHER COSTS!
Posted by talkster on August 29, 2007
By James Wanless
COO of Talkster
Yes, I did write higher costs. While everyone was basking in the sunshine feeling happy about the EU’s recently enacted mandates to lower roaming charges that would let European vacationers call home from the beach in Spain for 49 Euro Cents and receive calls for 24 cents or less, there is one little detail that has been missed: for many operators the cost of a call within the country you are roaming has actually gone up! I have posted on this topic before, and this result is not entirely what I expected.
The EU mandate was to lower the cost of calling home and receiving calls while roaming. But the EU regulation left open a very large door into which many mobile operators have stepped – in country call rates. The unfortunate thing for people traveling in Europe is that your operator is not inclined to share these new rates with you. So in order to find the truth, I did some grassroots research on my own.
I did some digging with Belgian and UK Operators and here is what I found. With the Belgian Operator BASE, when you are roaming in the UK and want to make a call home to Belgium the old price of about 1 Euro has been changed to 49 cents. That’s great. But now, should you want to make a call in the UK (for example call a restaurant, hotel, local office, customers, etc .etc.) it used to cost you 28 cents a minute. But with the new EU roaming mandate, the cost is now 49 cents a minute – nearly double!
The other big money spinner is the cost of sending an SMS. 54 cents to send an SMS is a HUGE mark-up over the wholesale costs. And if you want to use the mobile internet or get your email? Euro 5.50 per megabyte.
There was a lot of talk about where the operators were going to make up the lost revenue from their roaming cash cow. I think that I have discovered some of them.
Here is a useful link to the official EU roaming site with further links to the individual operators (often outdated) sites on individual roaming costs http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/activities/roaming/implementation/benchmark/index_en.htm
Talkster of course has been working to help people using mobile phones to keep their roaming and long distance costs in check. We are on the cusp of unveiling our new service that will mitigate a lot of these roaming costs. Stay tuned for our announcement this Fall when we take the wrapper off our new service. We now know that roaming Europeans will LOVE it!