TeliaSonera, together with leading mobile phone operators in Europe have agreed to halve the price of average wholesale roaming tariffs. This is expected to result in a substantial reduction in the retail price of roaming services that allow customers to make and receive calls while traveling in the European Economic Area (EEA).
TeliaSonera, Orange, Telecom Italia Mobile, Telenor, T-Mobile and Wind, which together have customers representing almost 200 million EU mobile users, have agreed to cap the average wholesale rates they offer each other for providing roaming services at 45 Euro cents per minute from October 2006 and 36 Euro cents per minute from October 2007, lowering current wholesale rates by around half.
The operators commit to pass the benefits of these wholesale reductions on to customers through market-driven reductions in retail prices as fully and quickly as possible. This would pave the way for a reduction in average retail roaming tariffs in the EEA by around 50 per cent.
An independent body will be appointed to audit the reductions in the average retail price of roaming voice services among this group of operators. At six monthly intervals, this independent body will publish an index, showing trends in retail prices at an EEA-wide level.
The group of operators, which provide services in almost all EU countries, will offer to apply the proposed wholesale cap on a reciprocal basis through agreements with other operators based in both in and outside Europe. A main advantage of this scheme, compared to the one proposed by the European Commission, is that it provides scope for competition on prices and services between mobile operators at both the wholesale and the retail level.
The group of operators have extended an invitation to all operators in the European Economic Area to sign the proposed code of conduct, and additional operators are expected to join prior to October 2006.