Telecoms firms gripe over EU roaming plan

City A.M. Reporter
TELECOM executives reacted unenthusiastically yesterday to proposals for a revamp of EU regulation, because price caps and limits on roaming charges would hit their profits soon, while ideas they liked were less sure to be adopted.

The European Commission unveiled reforms yesterday to foster a cross-border market for telecom services and spur investment in networks to help Europe catch up with the US and Asia in the broadband and mobile race.

The industry welcomed some proposals such as giving the EU veto power over auctions of mobile spectrum and letting operators charge web companies for carrying data-heavy services at high speeds.

But since these ideas are controversial with the EU parliament, which must ratify the law, telecom executives fear they might not get through.

One, who declined to be named, said: “Short term, there is certain pain for operators. Long-term there are gains, but they are uncertain because of the legislative process ahead.”

JP Morgan analysts estimate the change would cost €500m to €1bn in lost sales and operating profit for European operators.