The current European Union proposals to regulate mobile operators have not been properly thought through, and fail to take into consideration the complexity of roaming tariffs, according to a senior Gartner analyst.
Martin Gutberlet maintained that the proposed legislation fails to recognise the different market forces at work.
"Countries like Spain and Greece with high numbers of inbound tourists are earning significant revenue from inbound roaming traffic, whereas other countries in northern Europe are showing a deficit between outbound and inbound roamers," said the Gartner analyst.
"To impose strict retail prices unilaterally across the whole EU region would be unfair.
"The EU has a duty not only to protect consumers from unrealistically high prices but to sustain and foster a buoyant telecoms industry, which is contributing, in many cases significantly, to the member countries' GDPs."
Gutberlet pointed out that from 2002 to 2005 roaming prices had stagnated at less than a five per cent decline each year, until EU Commissioner Vivian Reding's intervention in the market in 2005 when they dropped by around eight percent.
"Operators have been slow to react and still have to improve on roaming options for their users," said Gutberlet.
"The GSM Association was unsuccessful in effectively representing the concerted view of the entire operator community in its response to the EU."
Gutberlet gave his thoughts in a keynote address at a customer forum hosted by roaming technology firm Starhome.
Gartner blasts EU roaming proposals
By Matt Chapman on Jul 3, 2006 9:20AM