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27 November 2015 0 Comments
Posted in Opinion

Roaming Charges and Net Neutrality

Author headshot image Posted by , Partner

On 27th October 2015, the European Commission decided to adopt an agreement to end roaming charges by June 2017 and, for the first time in EU law, to set net neutrality rules. The net neutrality rules will be implemented on 30th April 2016.

Roaming Charges

The benefits to consumers
Consumers have been paying 80% less for roaming across SMS, data and calls since 2007, with data being up to 91% cheaper than it was.

From 15th June 2017 individuals may use their mobile device when travelling around the EU paying the same prices as domestic prices. If individuals pay for a monthly volume of minutes, SMS and data in their domestic country then any SMS sent, or phone call made, whilst travelling in the EU will be deducted from that volume, with no extra charges, as if he or she was at home.

From April 2016, roaming prices will reduce and operators will only be allowed to charge a small additional amount to domestic prices.

The benefits to businesses
The changes will promote cross-border use of connected services and devices. People will no longer fear being faced with a large mobile phone bill from use of data abroad, leading to individuals engaging in more business communications and thereby promoting business growth.

Net Neutrality

What is it?
Net neutrality ensures that Europeans have access to the services and online content they want without interference, like blocking, or discrimination by internet access providers.

The new rules
There will be no throttling or blocking of online applications, content or services to ensure that Europeans have access to a high-quality open internet. Mobile providers will not longer be able to block or request extra money for individuals’ use of applications like Skype or Facetime.
All internet traffic will be treated equally meaning that there cannot be paid prioritisation of traffic in the internet access service. The European Commission stated that: “The internet is not different from day-to-day car traffic where you need some basic rules to allow everyone to have access and quality of service”.

Regulation
National regulatory authorities will monitor and enforce compliance with these new open internet rules. Regulators are also allowed to set minimum quality of service requirements on providers to ensure that end-users enjoy an open internet access service of good quality.

If you have any questions regarding the above please feel free to contact John North, Claus Andersen or Tony Roberts from our Corporate department.

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