Six years after the European Commission initially released the capped price for roaming services in the European Union as part of the roaming regulation, the road to a single European mobile roaming market remains a rough one and the market remains less dynamic in terms of competition, innovation and revenue generation than could be expected. With the call from the EC to achieve the “connected continent", operators are being challenged not just to oblige the directive but to raise the bar in terms of providing more attractive roaming offers.
Consumer protection, competition to drive further growth and collective innovations are the objectives of the European Commission as they embark toward a “connected continent". The regulated roaming prices for calls, SMS and mobile data aim to encourage competition among operators and increase usage for mobile subscribers. However, since the implementation of the regulation in 2007, there was no perceived significant growth in voice and SMS usage while the growth of traffic in data roaming is general rather than due to low roaming rates. These have left most operators losing revenues and thus with fewer resources to fight off competition in particular through innovations.
This article seeks to trace the impact of the EC’s roaming regulation across EU mobile roaming markets, refered as 28 member states as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway as they are part of the European Economic Area (EEA) and included in the regulation.