EC commissioner Kroes pledges to axe roaming charges

European commissioner Neelie Kroes has pledged to scrap roaming charges for mobile phone calls in the European Union.

It is one of a number of reforms to the EU's telecommunications regulation that Kroes proposed in a speech to the European parliament today. 

She promised to introduce a "strong package" of reform to knock down the barriers to a single telecommincations market in the EU before her retirement in a year and half's time. 

"I want you to be able to go back to your constituents and say that you were able to end mobile roaming costs," she told MEPs. 

A spokesperson for Kroes later added that mobile operators would not oppose the end of roaming charges, as it would spur demand. 

Kroes' other proposals include explicit protection for net neutrality, meaning that telecommunications operators could not restrict Internet services such as Skype. 

Some other potential reforms have been dropped from the agenda, however. Kroes said that the idea of creating a single, pan-EU telecoms regulator was not workable. This echoed remarks she made at Mobile World Congress in February, where she described untangling the member states' various approaches to mobile spectrum as “a bowl of spaghetti.” 

Kroes, who leads the EC's digital agenda, will formally submit her proposals before the summer, with the aim of final adoption by “around Easter 2014” – just ahead of the European Parliament elections.

Kroes insisted that the reforms would also create a "strong Europe that makes a practical difference to each citizen's life, whether they need it for travel, for trade or transactions."

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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