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EC proposes data roaming cap for prepaid, unlimited plans 

EC proposes data roaming cap for prepaid, unlimited plans
The European Commission has issued new draft rules on the 'fair use' of roaming and said it aims to finalise the rules in the next week. The deadline is 15 December to have the rules in place, so operators have enough time to prepare for the planned end to roaming surcharges next June.
Following its initial proposal in September, the Commission said it consulted with the industry, consumer groups, regulators, the European Parliament and member states on refining the rules. Its latest version gives further detail to the idea of a 'stable link' with another country, which would exempt some mobile users from restrictions on their roaming usage. This covers people who work regularly or study in another country than where they live, or have retired to another country and return regularly to their home country.
The latest proposal also sets a minimum period of four months before mobile providers can consider a customer using more roaming than fair. At that point they must send a warning to the customer, who will then have at least 14 days to justify their excessive roaming or change their behaviour, before the operator can levy any additional charges.
Excessive roaming is considered using more traffic while roaming than at home. Operators will not be able to collect any additional data on customers beyond what they already use for billing in order to assess the roaming use. However, they may ask customers to prove they have stable links with another country in order to include a specific 'roam like home' in that country in their contract. If the customer cannot justify the excessive use in another country, the operator can impose a small surcharge, equal to no more than the wholesale roaming price caps.
Finally, the Commission has considered how to apply 'roam like home' to the various types of mobile price plans, something it said is needed to protect against operators raising domestic prices. A fact sheet from the Commission on its proposal gives two examples, for a prepaid user with a monthly bundle and a postpaid subscriber with an unlimited plan.
For a prepaid user with a EUR 20 monthly credit to be used for calls, SMS and data and EUR 13 remaining when he goes abroad, he will be allowed to use data metered at the wholesale roaming price up to the value of his remaining credit for that period (EUR 13). The postpaid customer with an unlimited monthly plan at EUR 70 will be allowed to use unlimited calls and texts while roaming and data metered at the wholesale rate worth up to twice his monthly bundle value, so EUR 140.
Representatives of the EU member states (Cocom) will vote on the proposal on 12 December, and if approved, the Commission will then adopt the rules. The implementation of 'roam like home' also still depends on the finalisation of the new wholesale roaming rates. EU telecom ministers earlier approved wholesale data rates double those voted by the European Parliament, so the two bodies must enter negotiations in order to reach a compromise.
At a press conference on the fair use proposal, Commissioner Andrus Ansip for the Digital Agenda said the EU member states were far from unanimous about the level of wholesale rates, with the agreement reached a week ago passing by a vote of only 16 to 12. However, he added that the member states see the "urgency" of the issue and are committed to ensuring 'roam like home' goes ahead as planned next year.
Source: Total Telecom

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