Vodafone, Melita precede EU deadline on roaming rates reduction
After the EU commission decided to lower the capping for mobile phone rates on roaming, Melita Mobile decided to apply the reduction with immediate effect – rather than the July 1 deadline imposed by EU Telecoms Commissioner Viviane Reding.
Vodafone said it does not have to reduce its rates since they already fall within the uncapped price range set by the EU.
GO Mobile on the other hand, skirted our questions on when such reductions will come into force.
Under new EU terms, the retail price of a roamed text message within the EU will be capped at €0.11c from 1 July 2009, compared to the present rate of up to €0.49c.
The wholesale price of data roaming will be capped at €1 per megabyte from 1 July 2009, falling to €0.80c from 1 July 2010 and to €0.50c from 1 July 2011.
Retail caps on outgoing roamed voice calls will be extended for three years to 2012, with the price falling to €0.43c per minute from 1 July 2009 from the current €0.46c, and then to €0.39c from 1 July 2010 and €0.35c 1 July 2011.
Likewise, retail caps on incoming roamed calls will be capped at €0.19c from 1 July 2009 from the present €0.22c, falling to €0.15c from 1 July 2010 and to €0.11c from 1 July 2011.
“This is a victory for European consumers and for the European single telecoms market,” Reding commented after the agreement on the new cuts was reached last March.
Local mobile phone operators react to EU deal Asked whether Vodafone Malta will be introducing the new tariffs immediately or on 1 July as proposed, including per-second billing on mobile phone calls after 30 seconds, a spokesperson for the company told Business Today that Vodafone customers “already enjoy roaming rates that are below EU directives.
“Our base roaming tariff for outgoing calls from EU networks is €0.53c a minute including VAT, while incoming calls have been reduced to €0.25c a minute including VAT,” she said.
These rates are “below the requirements of the EU Directive and apply to all Vodafone pre-paid and post-paid customers roaming on any EU network”.
Moreover, Vodafone Malta customers can benefit from the Vodafone Passport tariff. “This tariff was implemented prior to any EU regulation and is the favoured option of our customers as it provides more value to those that need to make relatively longer calls,” she told Business Today.
With regards to roaming, Vodafone customers could also benefit from “favourable data roaming rates when roaming on Vodafone preferred networks”.
As to per-second billing, the spokesperson explained how in October 2008, “we introduced the ‘per second’ billing after the first minute of calls for our customers using their mobile within the EU member states.”
The ‘per second’ billing applies on both outgoing and incoming calls.
GO Mobile however, decided not to answer our question on whether it would be introducing the new tariffs immediately or on 1 July as proposed.
“GO will follow closely the developments and reactions by other operators in the short term and will always act within the best interest of the subscribers,” he said.
Soon after we sent them our questions, new kids on the block Melita Mobile issued a press release to announce the introduction of lower reduced roaming rates with immediate effect.
Commenting on our questions, a spokesperson for Melita said the company “welcomes any decision by the EU or local authorities that make mobile telephony more accessible, transparent, simpler and cheaper for customers to use.
“We have always supported this line of thought and we continue to strive to reflect this thinking in every new mobile product and service we launch,” he added.