Some day Europeans will roam freely with their phones, and wireless carriers are worried
The borders within countries in the European Union no longer exist as far as currency, trade in goods and services, and people are concerned. But for mobile phones, they’re all too real. Europeans who travel around the continent still incur global roaming charges—an anachronism that impedes mobility and productivity on the continent, which only just emerged from recession.
Europe is slowly lurching towards a solution. The EU this week unveiled much-anticipated regulations designed to eliminate roaming charges for consumers. But it won’t happen without without fierce resistance. Roaming provides lucrative income for European carriers. Stricter rules on pricing in domestic markets than those in the US also mean they depend on outsized roaming fees to generate profits. Bernstein Research telecom analyst Robin Bienenstock estimates that roaming accounts for 5% of revenues for the continent’s biggest players.
Eliminating it could threaten their ability to invest in high-speed mobile networks, the carriers claim. This…
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