Lindén supports price cap on SMS and data roaming fees
Communication Minister Suvi Lindén supports the new Regulation proposal on a new fee regulation approved by the European Commission September 23. In addition to calls, the price cap is intended to also apply to text messages and data.
The current price regulations would be extended until 2013. The price cap on calls placed and received in other EU countries will decrease from year to year.
Lindén is satisfied with Commissioner Viviane Reding's proposal.
"Finland is a leader in data transfer pricing. 3G, however, has introduced the concept of "bill-shock" to the consumers' vernacular. This is why I consider it justified that price regulation within the EU also be applied to data fees," stresses Lindén.
The Commission wants greater transparency in data transfer pricing, such as through pricing information messages and allowing consumers to set a price ceiling in advance: when the customer reaches the specified ceiling, the service is automatically shut off.
The Commission proposes a wholesale price cap for mobile Internet fees at 1 euro/megabyte, beginning in the summer of 2009. However, the Commission has not proposed a price cap for retail mobile Internet fees.
"It is of the utmost importance that we can ensure that the ordinary consumer also ultimately benefits from price reductions. This is why serious consideration should be given to whether mobile Internet fees should also be regulated at the retail level," points out Lindén.
The Commission proposes that the fees for calls placed in other EU countries will be lowered to no more than 34 cents/minute by the summer of 2012 and the fee for calls received will be lowered to no more than 10 cents/minute.
The new Regulation proposal is a move toward per-second pricing. Operators would only be able to charge the customer a fixed rate for the first 30 seconds, after which the call would be charged on a per-second basis.
The Regulation proposal would expand the price regulation to include text messages. Beginning in early July 2009, text messages sent from another EU country may not cost more than 11 cents per message. Receiving text messages would be free of charge.
The enactment of the proposal would require member state and European Parliament approval. It will be a tight schedule if the Regulation is to be enacted before next summer's Parliamentary elections. The existing Regulation is temporary, ending in the summer of 2010, unless a new Regulation is approved before that time.
Special Adviser, Mr Aleksi Randell, tel. (09) 160 28324 or 0400 500 822
Ministerial Adviser, Mr Olli-Pekka Rantala, (09) 160 28585 or 050 344 3400