European mobile phone firms in roaming pact

LONDON - A group of European mobile phone companies on Thursday unveiled plans to halve the cost of customers making calls on each others’ networks when they are abroad.

By (Reuters)

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Published: Thu 1 Jun 2006, 8:04 PM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 3:16 PM

T- Mobile, Orange, Telecom Italia, Telenor, TeliaSonera and Wind -- which combined have around 200 million European mobile customers -- have agreed to cap the average wholesale rates they offer each other for providing roaming services at 0.45 euros ($0.575) a minute from October and 0.36 euros a minute from October 2007.

The move is the latest attempt by mobile firms to appease the European Union after decision makers signalled their intention to force down “excessive” charges with regulation.

“We have always expressed an interest in reducing roaming costs,” T-Mobile Chief Executive Officer, Rene Obermann said in a statement.

”This (the cost reductions) makes it apparent that market forces in the mobile industry function and do not need regulatory intervention,” he added.

The firms said in a statement on Thursday that the changes would cut current wholesale rates by around half with savings expected to be passed on to customers.

“The operators commit to pass the benefits of these wholesale reductions on to customers through market-driven reductions in retail prices as fully and quickly as possible.”

“This would pave the way for a reduction in average retail roaming tariffs in the Europe by around 50 per cent,” they added.

The companies involved said they had extended an invitation to other European mobile firms and said additional operators were expected to sign up to the agreement prior to October 2006.

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