12th July 2015

EU Council and Parliament agree on roaming ban in 2017

The Latvian presidency of the Council managed to broker a Council-Parliament-Commission deal on roaming and net neutrality on its last day in office, on 30 June, after a marathon trilogue that ended at 2 am. After two years of stalled talks between the co-legislators, the compromise is as follows: there will be no roaming surcharges inside the EU as of June 2017 (although only for “periodic travel”, i.e. there may be small surcharges for exceptionally high roaming usage) and from April 2016 the prices of roaming will be lowered for the last time (max 5 cents per minute surcharge on outgoing calls, 2 cents per text and 5 cents per MB of data, with a cap on incoming calls below the current EU average of termination fees; however, the final retail prices must be lower than today´s values). The compromise contains also provisions on net neutrality – operators will be required not to accord preferential access to some services in their networks, although there are exceptions. On 8 July, the deal was approved by the Council´s Committee of Permanent Representatives. The European Parliament will vote on the regulation later this Fall, with a ministerial Council´s formal approval shortly afterwards. This is considered to be a big step forward in the creation of a single EU digital market, although the original Commission´s proposal was much more ambitious than roaming and net neutrality.

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Members of the American Chamber of Commerce in the Czech Republic