Find the latest episode of "The Uncertain Hour" here. Listen

Cheaper roaming in Europe today

Ashley Milne-Tyte Jul 31, 2007


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.

Marketplace is on a mission.

We believe Main Street matters as much as Wall Street, economic news is made relevant and real through human stories, and a touch of humor helps enliven topics you might typically find…well, dull.

Through the signature style that only Marketplace can deliver, we’re on a mission to raise the economic intelligence of the country—but we don’t do it alone. We count on listeners and readers like you to keep this public service free and accessible to all. Will you become a partner in our mission today?

Your donation is critical to the future of public service journalism. Support our work today – for as little as $5 – and help us keep making people smarter.