Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
EU Communications Politics

EU Free Data Roaming, Net Neutrality Plans In Jeopardy 71

An anonymous reader writes EU free data roaming and net neutrality plans now look like they are in doubt as European regulators have dropped plans to ban roaming charges and have proposed net neutrality rules allowing privileged access in some cases. This comes as a U-turn of plans [compared to] 2014, when EU MEPs voted to scrap mobile roaming fees in Europe by 15th December 2015, with the proposal orginally covered on Slashdot in 2010."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

EU Free Data Roaming, Net Neutrality Plans In Jeopardy

Comments Filter:
  • by danbob999 ( 2490674 ) on Thursday March 05, 2015 @06:08PM (#49191959)
    But when you think about it, what would stop a provider with a single antenna in say, Andorra or Vatican, to offer unlimited plans at Euro 5/month and free ride on providers with real network coverage?
    • I don't think they were obliging operators to sign roaming agreements with other operators, so you'd only enter into agreements with carriers on a fair basis.

    • But when you think about it, what would stop a provider with a single antenna in say, Andorra or Vatican, to offer unlimited plans at Euro 5/month and free ride on providers with real network coverage?

      Providers have roaming agreements where they reimburse each other for roaming in the US. As long as it is relatively balanced there is no real cost to it. A single tower providercwould get killed in such a acenario sinc they would pay much more than they take in. That's also why they will drop you if you roam too much.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      There's indeed all kind of commercial issues. No-one will disagree on that.

      Yet, daily practices are very strange pricing schemes with all EU telco's. Where calling mobile may be cheaper than land line. But roaming is indeed a very practical issue for anyone crossing a border, and getting charged over 2 euro for 1 megabyte of data is more the rule than the exception.
      Smarter users avoid getting unexpected bills using pre-pay plans. But on average, _everyone_ is being ripped of left or right. There are no fair

      • There's indeed all kind of commercial issues. No-one will disagree on that.

        Yet, daily practices are very strange pricing schemes with all EU telco's. Where calling mobile may be cheaper than land line. But roaming is indeed a very practical issue for anyone crossing a border, and getting charged over 2 euro for 1 megabyte of data is more the rule than the exception. Smarter users avoid getting unexpected bills using pre-pay plans. But on average, _everyone_ is being ripped of left or right. There are no fair plans. It's hard to find a,say, 100 euro true unlimited plan. It's hard to find roaming at normal prices. It _does_ exist though, it you search. But as said, most providers will just rip you off whenever they find a chance.

        It is interesting to see how the EU and USA mobile markets evolved differently, which I attribute in part to the different cultural identity in the two places. US Companies see themselevs as US companies and so it was natural for them to dvelop a US network acrosss the entire country. The EU companies were more likly to seethemselves as French or German as were regulators in those countries who would protrct them from foriegn competition. As aresultyou have a very localized network rather than an EU wide ne

        • It is interesting to see how the EU and USA mobile markets evolved differently, which I attribute in part to the different cultural identity in the two places. US Companies see themselevs as US companies and so it was natural for them to dvelop a US network acrosss the entire country. The EU companies were more likly to seethemselves as French or German as were regulators in those countries who would protrct them from foriegn competition. As aresultyou have a very localized network rather than an EU wide network.

          It's just as localized in the US. The US just happens to be a larger country. But go to Canada or Mexico and you will pay exorbitant roaming fees to.

          • It is interesting to see how the EU and USA mobile markets evolved differently, which I attribute in part to the different cultural identity in the two places. US Companies see themselevs as US companies and so it was natural for them to dvelop a US network acrosss the entire country. The EU companies were more likly to seethemselves as French or German as were regulators in those countries who would protrct them from foriegn competition. As aresultyou have a very localized network rather than an EU wide network.

            It's just as localized in the US. The US just happens to be a larger country. But go to Canada or Mexico and you will pay exorbitant roaming fees to.

            True, but the continental US is about as large as Europe and is also made up of a number of individual states who also jealously guard their rights and powers; but the strong federal system and cultural history of the US made it easier to create one giant roam free marketplace about as large as the total EU market. We do pay through the nose for roaming outside of the US; although years ago Canada only cost an additional $5/month for unlimited calling while there or to there.

            • Electromagnetic spectrum is managed at the federal level in the US. It's managed by individual countries in the EU. That's the main reason why operators are localized to specific countries in the EU, but are not localized to specific states in the US.
              • Electromagnetic spectrum is managed at the federal level in the US. It's managed by individual countries in the EU. That's the main reason why operators are localized to specific countries in the EU, but are not localized to specific states in the US.

                Exactly. the Eu's structure makes it very difficult to enact any EU wide rules and enforce them; thus each country acts in a manner that is most beneficial for it's own interests. There is nothing wrong with that but it results in a patchwork of rules, currencies and industries.

    • Free roaming SOUNDS nice, but it's not really a good idea for the average person.

      Face it: Telcos will want to retain their revenue. One way or another. And if roaming is cut, something has to pick up the slack.

      And now ask yourself who would benefit from calls across Europe costing the same as domestic calls. Hint: It ain't gonna be you with your 2 weeks vacation abroad.

      • by danbob999 ( 2490674 ) on Thursday March 05, 2015 @06:42PM (#49192163)
        You could use the same argument within a single country. The average person only needs coverage in his home city, right? Why would roaming across France be free when you live in Paris?
        • You could use the same argument within a single country. The average person only needs coverage in his home city, right? Why would roaming across France be free when you live in Paris?

          Because the actual cost of roaming within a country is so low that it doesn't make much sense to account for it.

          The actual cost of roaming between countries is a lot higher, so it does make sense to account for it and charge for it.

          • Roaming charges between regions of the same country in fact used to occur in the US.

            • Yes, and when costs got lower, it wasn't worth accounting for them anymore and they disappeared. All without government regulation.

              • Yes, and when costs got lower, it wasn't worth accounting for them anymore and they disappeared. All without government regulation.

                They wouldn't have disappeared if the market was still dominated by regional companies.

                • They wouldn't have disappeared if the market was still dominated by regional companies.

                  Correct. So, market consolidation and increased concentration lowers costs.

                  • They wouldn't have disappeared if the market was still dominated by regional companies.

                    Correct. So, market consolidation and increased concentration lowers costs.

                    Well you could argue that while there are no roaming charges within the US, prices are much higher than in the EU.

                    • Well you could argue that while there are no roaming charges within the US, prices are much higher than in the EU.

                      You could argue that, but you would be wrong. You can get damned cheap cell phone service in the US if you're willing to go with an MVNO, just like in Europe. European cellular operators also have all sorts of hidden costs that you don't see when you simply go over to their web sites and look at their nominal prices. Finally, you have to put prices in relationship to take-home incomes, which are

                    • Ok what US MVNO offers 120 minutes of talk time (to France, the USA and 99 other destinations), unlimited SMS and 50 MB data for 2 euros/month? Free offers it in France. For 20 euros, they offer unlimited talk and 20GB data. There might be cheaper alternatives in some other countries, I just picked the cheap European operator I know.
                    • Ok what US MVNO offers 120 minutes of talk time (to France, the USA and 99 other destinations), unlimited SMS and 50 MB data for 2 euros/month? Free offers it in France

                      You mean this? http://mobile.free.fr/ [mobile.free.fr] I think your French is a little rusty, and those plans end up being a ton more expensive when all is said and done. Note that in Europe, the existence of these plans is a result of deregulation, not regulation.

                      In any case, in the US, Ting and Family Mobile are pretty good deals. If you look around, you c

                    • You mean this? http://mobile.free.fr/ [mobile.free.fr] I think your French is a little rusty, and those plans end up being a ton more expensive when all is said and done.

                      What's the catch? Can't we get a mobile plan for only 2 euros/month?

                      In any case, in the US, Ting and Family Mobile are pretty good deals.

                      That's not that cheap. Start at $15 for 100 minutes, 100 text and 100 MB.

                    • What's the catch? Can't we get a mobile plan for only 2 euros/month?

                      The catch is that you automatically switch to very expensive per MB/minute plans, so if you use it at all, you end up paying an arm and a leg. The EU 2 plan by free.fr is a gimmick, not a realistic plan.

                      And again, what is the point you're actually trying to make? Was free.fr a service created by regulation or by deregulation?

                    • The catch is that you automatically switch to very expensive per MB/minute plans, so if you use it at all, you end up paying an arm and a leg. The EU 2 plan by free.fr is a gimmick, not a realistic plan.

                      How is that not reallistic? As long as you don't go over the limit, you are fine. I'd love to have such a cheap plan in my country. 120 minutes is more than what a few of my relatives have. Free SMS and 50 MB are just bonus. If you are a big user, just take the 20 euro plan. I fail to see how this is a gimmick. It's about 1/4 of the price of my country.

                      And again, what is the point you're actually trying to make? Was free.fr a service created by regulation or by deregulation?

                      By both actually. France regulates the number of providers. They wanted a 4th one so they had one. They are forcing an incumbant (orange) to offer roaming wh

                    • How is that not reallistic? As long as you don't go over the limit, you are fine

                      I have subscribed to this kind of service in Europe: you will go over the limit and it will cost you dearly when you do. You're not reading the fine print (e.g. "vers mobiles").

                      By both actually. France regulates the number of providers. They wanted a 4th one so they had one.

                      So does the US. That's why we have four providers. What's your point?

                      They are forcing an incumbant (orange) to offer roaming while Free is building its netwo

                    • I have subscribed to this kind of service in Europe: you will go over the limit and it will cost you dearly when you do. You're not reading the fine print (e.g. "vers mobiles").

                      I've had many cell phones with less than 120 minutes of talk time. I know what it is. I know how not to go over the limit. I have a separate home phone and work phone. I would still want that plan. There is nothing comparable in the US or Canada that I know of.

                      By both actually. France regulates the number of providers. They wanted a 4th one so they had one.

                      So does the US. That's why we have four providers. What's your point?

                      The US has 4 providers because mostly of market rules. France dictated that there would be a 4th provider. My point was that I was answering your question. You asked wheter Free mobile was the result of regulation or deregulation.

                      I don't know what you mean by "my country". Do you mean the US?

                      No, Canada.

                      Would you "love to have" the taxes, regulations, and obligations that go along with living in France? Because the whole thing comes as a package. You cannot have US-style taxes, salaries, and economic growth while at the same time having French-style subsidized prices and services.

                      Why not? C

                    • Why not? Cell phone prices doesn't have much to do with taxes. It's not because of subsidies that you can have a cell phone plan for 2 euros/month in France and not in the US or Canada.

                      First of all, Canada isn't the US, so I don't see why you keep talking about the US.

                      Second, I think we pretty conclusively determined how free.fr can offer those cheap plans: the French government subsidizes them by forcing roaming arrangements on the former state monopoly, Orange, and by having subsidized Orange itself even

                  • That's true, but what does cost have to do with the price the consumer has to pay?

                    • That's true, but what does cost have to do with the price the consumer has to pay?

                      You can see the difference between cost and price by looking at the profit margin, which is public for all mobile operators. Net annual profit margin for Verizon is probably about 5% on average. Competition keeps it down in that range.

              • "All without government regulation."

                Without government regulation, except for the government regulation. Even now the FCC has to issue things like the Data Roaming Order of 2011 to keep national roaming working.

                • That's utterly irrelevant to the point at hand, namely that roaming costs within the same provider disappeared within the US on their own, without regulation.

          • You could use the same argument within a single country. The average person only needs coverage in his home city, right? Why would roaming across France be free when you live in Paris?

            Because the actual cost of roaming within a country is so low that it doesn't make much sense to account for it.

            The actual cost of roaming between countries is a lot higher, so it does make sense to account for it and charge for it.

            The only reason why roaming within a single country is low is because you usually don't roam as the operator will setup antennas to cover the whole country. If you are to roam on another operator, there is no reason why it should be more expensive just because it's in another country.

    • The fact that Andorra and The Vatican are not EU member states.

    • by Yoda222 ( 943886 )
      Andorra and Vatican are not fully part of European Union.
    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) *

      They would have to pay roaming fees to the providers who provide the actual network coverage. In practice most of them have some kind of agreement where they simply agree to allow each other's customers to roam without bothering to meter and bill every single megabyte or text message.

      The reason why the EU wants to get rid of roaming charges for consumers is not that it costs the networks nothing, it's that the networks charge far more than it costs them and are not motivated to agree reciprocal deals. Some

    • by Xest ( 935314 )

      99% of roaming charges were nothing more than pure profit.

      All this does is cuts out the ability to use the somewhat arbitrary national borders within the EU as an excuse for profiteering.

      If someone wants to set up their single mast mobile telco they're more than welcome too, they'll still have to pay the standard rate for connecting people to other networks that covers costs and grants some profit. They just can't charge or be charged exhorbitant profiteering profits now that's all.

      Banning roaming charges d

  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Thursday March 05, 2015 @06:15PM (#49192019)

    The bait is always something tasty, until you feel the hook... and find the bait that tempted you wasn't even real.

  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Thursday March 05, 2015 @06:38PM (#49192131)

    How much?
    and
    What MEPs?

    • by Yoda222 ( 943886 )
      It's a group of national government which have decided to overrule the EP. Which ones ? I don't know. But just a possibility. If roaming becomes free, some operators will lose money. And some European operators are partially owned by countries: Orange (France), Deutsche Telekom (Germany), Belgacom/Proximus (Belgium), ... So they may have a reason.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    This is what happens when Günther Oettinger, a really awful Energy Commissioner from the Barroso times, replaces Neelies Kroes (and Viviane Reding before her) as Commissioner for Digital Economy, both political heavyweights that showed, again and again, that they were willing to fight entrenched interests.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Indeed, I was looking forward to the free roaming. I live near a border and have to disable roaming because I'm often in the neighboring country. It's a joke to be forced to live without a cell phone in the second decade of the 21th century. But I'm not a rich person who can afford the extra 600-700 euros a month just to please the mobile provider.

      Europe is only free for the free move of capital, no problem there. It's easy to avoid taxes for the wealthy, and the normal middle class can't profit, it's a d
      • Buy a dual sim mobile. I have one because I have to do a lot of overseas travelling. But for you sitting on a border like that dual sim makes a huge amount of sense.

        • There have been a few proposals recently to abolish SIMs. They were created back in the days of rented carphones so that people could move their phone number and contacts between phones easily. Now, they basically serve the same purpose as a WiFi password. It wouldn't be too difficult to provide the keying material in a QR code or similar so that when you get a new phone you just photograph it and have an app provide it to the baseband processor.

          Carriers are very hostile to this, because if the SIM isn'

  • I really don't see why privileged access has to be a problem. If there isn't some way of providing it, then either the internet is held down to the least-common-denominator, or everybody has to pay for a level of service that most of us don't need.

    You just have to apply reasonable rules. I think the only ones you really need are that the money paid for privileged access must be used to provide that access, not to subsidize the network as a whole, and that the profit margins must not be excessive. Oh, and

    • Because to wont stay regular and privileged for long.. They will move the goalposts to poor and regular... but we'll still pay the premium for the upper tier. We ALL lose.
      • Not if the rules are enforced. Or if there's enough competition that anyone offering "poor" access to the general internet won't survive for long.

  • This will focus the attention of the previous vendors and price breaks will follow. Make sure that you establish return privileges. In that way you can sell additional products in your store Nike Free Run [cnusfrtnk.com] , safe in the knowledge that if they do not sell you simply return them and don't lose a cent. Tip four: get your family involved. If they'll help out during the first few crucial months of operation, you might be able to get a better handle on upcoming payroll expenses. Furthermore, trained family membe
  • The EU comission (basically "federal government") and EU parlament have voted for. It is stuck at the council of ministers (basically the second chamber representing the national governments). It is very popular for national politicians to use EU as a scape goat, but here the blame is on them.
  • Hmmm, I wonder which MEP's were paid off, and how much.

Too much of everything is just enough. -- Bob Wier

Working...