Mark Bridge writes:
In this week’s podcast we talked about a recent European study into call costs that had been highlighted by European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes. You can hear the report after around 24 minutes into the programme.
Ms Kroes pointed out that making a national mobile phone call in Europe cost 774% more in the Netherlands than in Lithuania.
We agreed the headline was shocking - but also said there were potentially many other tariff factors that weren’t being compared.
Tom Phillips, Chief Government and Regulatory Affairs Officer at the GSMA, has offered his own opinion.
He said “While I fully support Commissioner Kroes’ desire to create an effective single European market for mobile services, this does not imply a single price. In a press release issued on 6 August, the Commissioner compares the different prices of domestic mobile phone calls in EU countries to the price of a litre of milk - a point that reveals a fundamental misunderstanding of market conditions. No serious comparison can be made between the mobile and dairy industries. Dairy producers are not rolling out “next-generation” milk infrastructure that is central to European economic competitiveness, nor are they meeting consumer demands by offering people “all you can drink” contracts.”
“The research cited by the Commissioner mistakenly claims that there is ‘one standard minute’ of mobile phone service - there isn’t. Some mobile phone calls will be pre-paid, some will have subsidised handsets, some will buy bundles of minutes, some will be heavily discounted for volume business users, and so on. Why don’t all insurance policies cost the same across the EU? The answer, like for mobile services, is because different people want different things.”
“Europe was the early leader in mobile but now lags far behind the United States in the deployment of next-generation mobile technologies and the advanced services made possible through mobile. Enlightened policy reforms could certainly help bring improvement. To create a successful single European market, I encourage the Commissioner to focus on coordinating the release of spectrum made available through the digital dividend, rather than embarking on an unnecessary fourth wave of roaming regulation.”