EU states, lawmakers agree to cap price of intra-EU calls

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BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European Union governments and lawmakers have agreed to cap the value of calling from one EU nation to a different, looking for to attain one other political victory with residents after the elimination of cellular roaming surcharges.

The deal clinched within the early hours of Wednesday after 12 hours of negotiations is a part of a wider overhaul of the bloc’s 15-year-old telecoms legal guidelines to encourage operators to put money into fiber broadband networks and open up radio frequencies for next-generation 5G providers.

However in a twist on the unique proposal the European Parliament pushed for the costs of worldwide calls throughout the EU to be capped, arguing that they have been typically disproportionately excessive.

Underneath the provisional deal, calls from one EU state to a different will probably be capped at 19 euro cents per minute whereas textual content messages will value not more than 6 euro cents every.

“No extra overly costly calls and SMS!! At present we determined to place a cap on costs should you name or textual content one other EU-country from your own home. Good step ahead,” tweeted Miapetra Kumpula-Natri, one of many lawmakers concerned in negotiating the deal.

The EU feted the abolition of cellular roaming costs final yr with champagne and fireworks, wanting to trumpet a coverage that may present its advantages for the bloc’s 500 million residents.

However many cellular operators, the European Fee and member states noticed the capping of worldwide calls as an pointless populist measure as customers can select to name overseas with providers similar to Skype, Viber and WhatsApp that are free.

In keeping with figures from the European Client Organisation BEUC, the price of calling different EU international locations at the moment varies from 5 cents a minute to 80 cents a minute.

“Extreme surcharges for telephone calls from a shopper’s residence nation into one other EU Member State is much from what folks anticipate in a single market,” mentioned Ursula Pachl, deputy director normal of BEUC.

The settlement additionally contains measures permitting incumbent telecoms operators like Deutsche Telekom and Orange to be deregulated in the event that they co-invest in new broadband networks with rivals.

Wi-fi spectrum licenses will probably be awarded for a minimum of 20 years beneath the brand new regulation, down from the 25 initially proposed, disappointing the business.

“The regulation fails to assist telcos velocity up 5G and fiber deployment, which places strain on nationwide authorities to make sure a pro-investment utility of the brand new guidelines,” mentioned Phillip Malloch, chairman of telecoms lobbying group ETNO.

The deal must be endorsed by each member states and the parliament earlier than turning into regulation.

Reporting by Julia Fioretti; Enhancing by Sandra Maler

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