Roaming has been a significant source of revenues for mobile operators. Typically, roaming revenues account for 5% to 10% of the total mobile revenues for most European operators. Yet, since 2007, the EU commission has capped wholesale and retail roaming charges within the EU to foster competition and improve customer protection. Most operators have complied and roaming tariffs indeed decreased. However, the competition in the EU roaming market still appears limited, in particular regarding the service offering.
Regulation in the EU to foster a competitive roaming market
The final objective of the EU commission is to reduce the gap between domestic mobile and roaming calls within the EU to nearly zero by 2015. Following the latest regulatory decision that came into force in July 2010, retail roaming charges decreased by 9% for outgoing calls, 21% for incoming calls and 20% for data charges, compared to July 2009. In July 2011, the EU commission plans to reduce further retail roaming call charges by €0.04, i.e. a maximum of €0.35 per minute for outgoing calls and €0.11 per minute for incoming calls, and wholesale data charges by €0.30, i.e. a maximum of €0.50 per MB. In total, since 2005, retail roaming charges have decreased by 70% for mobile calls and 60% for sending SMS.