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Cheaper roaming in Europe today

Ashley Milne-Tyte Jul 31, 2007

TEXT OF STORY

Doug Krizner: Remember the days of roaming charges when you made cell phone calls outside your home service area? Here in the U.S. competition pushed providers to offer one rate from coast to coast, but in Europe, competition hasn’t had the same effect. So the European Union has stepped in. Ashley Milne-Tyte reports.


Ashley Milne-Tyte: Today’s the deadline for European cell phone providers to offer their customers cheaper roaming rates. The E.U. says it’s responding to public pressure.

Telecom consultant Scott Cleland says many European cell phone providers are already offering more competitive rates. He says by forcing providers to slash roaming rates, the E.U. is effectively punishing them for doing business.

Scott Cleland: This is one of the highest margin parts of their business, and so it’s a tax on one of their most important sources of income. And to think that that will not have ramifications is naive.

He says consumers will rue the day that price controls came in.

For one thing, he says, the phone companies, stripped of some of their income, are likely to invest less in the business. And that could signal worse service for customers.

I’m Ashley Milne-Tyte for Marketplace.

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