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Business Health Miscellaneous Mobile Phones Networks News Political

European roaming charges fall

Just in time for the summer holidays, European roaming charges have fallen dramatically, capping them at something resembling a reasonable cost. Roaming charges are what networks charge you for when you are outside of your networks home country. So say for instance your network is O2 in the UK and you travel to Germany, you would have been charged these roaming costs if you had made or received a phone cal, sent a text message or tried to access any mobile data. The costs of doing so were previously uncapped, with some networks across Europe charging £1.70 per minute to make a cross boarder phone call.

The new cap, which was put into place on July 1st sees prices for all European roaming charges set to a much smaller £0.20p per minute. Data has also tumbled from a high of £0.70 per MB to £0.38p or €0.45 if you speak in Euros. These prices are exclusive of VAT.

As we recently mentioned in our blog, Neelie Kroes is the lady behind the cut in roaming charges – intent on creating a cheaper and easier method of European communications. Neelie had this to say upon the success of the recent cap – “This is good for both consumers and companies, because it takes fear out of the market, and it grows the market.”

It also appears that neither Neelie or the EU will stop their cuts there. There are still plans for a single European telecoms market, which would scrap roaming charges altogether. Plans had previously been for this to be implemented in 2015, however it seems that it could be possible by 2014 instead.

Hopefully this will put an end to the unfair and unjustified phone bills that had snuck up on holidaying individuals who’d never have thought watching an episode of Doctor Who on their mobile abroad would cost so much.

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Business Health Miscellaneous Mobile Phones Networks News

EU roaming to increase customer satisfaction

Some of you may be aware that the European Commission passed a law in 2012 to bring the prices of roaming within the EU down. This will then allow those who use a network based in the EU to visit neighbouring countries and not have to pay extortionate fees to use their handsets. As a result of this pending law, which will start to come into effect as of July 1st 2014, almost 75% of telecoms professionals believe that consumer satisfaction will increase.

In an attempt to bring the Eurozone closer together and make it more appealing and easier for people to cross borders, it is believed that the law will also see an increase in the amount that people use their phones abroad. However, when factoring in the decreased prices, just less than half of the individuals surveyed believed that revenues for the networks would increase, meaning that over half also believe that the networks are the ones who will lose out as part of the legislation.

As a counter strategy to make it easier for consumers travelling within the EU, over 60% suggest that simply increasing the visibility of usage to customers will increase customer satisfaction, and not result in lost revenues. By using Apps, professionals also believe that they can make it easy for users to purchase add-on packages that bring the overall cost of their usage down, but also convenient and simple for them to do.

Overall, there have been 3 top strategies suggested and the senior marketing manager at Openet, Corine Suscens suggests that “by combining them, operators will not only offer customers the level of control that they crave and which has been a barrier to data roaming usage, but also maximise revenue potential by making purchasing very easy and convenient”.

This information will be available in the Telecoms.com Intelligence Indsutry Survery 2013, when published.

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Business Health Miscellaneous Mobile Phones Networks News

Telecoms providers potentially merging in Europe

Joaquin Almunia, EU Competition ChiefThis is the news that has filtered out of a meeting between some of the bosses of Europe’s largest Mobile phone networks and Joaquin Almunia, the European Union’s competition chief. The bosses in the meeting included those from Deutsche Telekom (Germany), Telefonica (Spain), France Telecom and Telecom Italia, which suggest just how large such an allegiance could result in.

The idea itself aims to pool together the infrastructure owned some of Europe’s largest network providers, which is currently spread between dozens of independent providers in the 50 European countries. The result would then be similar to the North American and Chinese markets, where operators offer services through a handful of infrastructure.

Such a radical change in the way Europe currently independently operates would of course take a long time to make a reality, but the result would see single prices being offered across Europe for phone and Internet services. This could potentially mean lower prices for consumers and more focus on customer-centric businesses, where quality of customer support would become a major differentiating factor.

In its current state, the European networks are seeing a decline in revenues, coupled with the large debts that the infrastructures hold. Therefore, with the idea of a cross-border network being on the cards, new investment would be welcomed, along with a diversified risk of the debt becoming unsustainable. However, someone close to the meetings mentioned to the FT that “Objections won’t come from Europe, they will be from the [EU’s 27 national] regulators.”. This puts the idea at risk from conception, however, if the gains are both apparent for both consumers and businesses, the idea will surely become to fruition at some point.

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