Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Questions (162)

Seán Kenny

Question:

162. Deputy Seán Kenny asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the arrangements put in place by the regulatory authorities to prevent exorbitant roaming charges being imposed on customers by mobile phone operators in the Border areas between here and Northern Ireland. [32322/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

On 26th June I announced that I have signed new regulations to combat excessive roaming fees imposed on mobile service users. The regulations will enable the Communications Regulator, ComReg, to use its investigative and enforcement powers to oblige mobile telephone service providers to implement retail price reductions required by the EU Roaming Regulation. The regulation of roaming charges is an EU competency following the introduction of an EU Regulation in 2007, which introduced harmonised maximum charges for roaming voice services across the European Union.

From 1 July 2013, the new EU Roaming Regulation lowered the price caps for data downloads by 36%, making it much cheaper to use maps, watch videos, check emails and update social networks while travelling across borders. Data roaming is now up to 91% cheaper in 2013 compared to 2007. The Regulation also introduced per megabyte price limits of €0.70 per megabyte from July 2012, which reduced to €0.45 on July 1st. It will reduce further to €0.20 in July 2014.

The reduction in maximum retail prices (excluding VAT) required by the current EU Regulation over three years is outlined as follows.

Service

1 July 2012

1 July 2013

1 July 2014

Outgoing call

- per minute

0.29

0.24

0.19

Incoming call

- per minute

0.08

0.07

0.05

Call to voicemail

free

free

free

Outgoing SMS/text

0.09

0.08

0.06

Incoming text

free

free

free

Data

-per megtabyte

0.70

0.45

0.20

It is a matter for the regulatory authority in each Member State to ensure that service providers do not exceed the maximum permitted retail roaming charges. The regulatory function is performed by ComReg, in Ireland.