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Europe Could Scrap Roaming Fees by Middle of 2014

Mooted plans to scrap roaming fees within the European Union could come into effect as soon as next summer.

The group of 27 European Commissioners have reportedly voted to drive the package through in time for the European elections in May next year. The regulations would then come into effect from July 2014.

The move is expected to reduce mobile network operator’s revenues by around 2 percent.

“They agreed that this time next year we will have got rid of these charges,” a Brussels source told The Telegraph newspaper.

The vote by the Commissioners follows shortly after a speech by Vice-President of the European Commission, Neelie Kroes who said that roaming fees shouldn’t be reduced, but scrapped entirely.

“I want us to show citizens that the EU is relevant to their lives. That we made the digital rules catch up with their legitimate expectations,” Ms Kroes said in a speech.

That the changes could be pushed through in time for the next elections though could raise challenges that the move is a populist move to win votes rather than a move to develop a single European telecoms market.

Operators may however be mollified by talks of encouraging more consolidation in the European market to create fewer larger pan-EU operators. Such moves could lead to cost savings for the operators to help offset the regulatory impacts.

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