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inquisitor (Offline)
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Default 12-09-2013, 11:35

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ROAMING:
  • Operators will lose the right to charge for incoming calls while a user is travelling abroad in EU, and additionally face a choice between a carrot and a stick.
  • The carrot is that they can be largely free of European regulation, if they extend their domestic plans/bundles from 2014 so that by July 2016 at the latest customers are able to use their phones and smartphones while travelling through the EU at domestic rates. There will be a glidepath from July 2014 allowing operators to adapt either the number of plans they offer or the number of countries they cover at domestic rates
  • The stick is being subject to the 2012 roaming regulation which forces companies to offer their customers the possibility to roam with new competitors (alternative roaming providers)as of July 2014. Form this date, acustomer will have the right to leave their domestic operator when travelling and take cheaper roaming services from a local company or a rival company in the home country.
  • Operators should take advantage of the opportunities to offer Roam Like at Home to their consumers. The Commission will review the implementation of the Roaming regulation in 2016 and may consider further Regulatory options.
Given that the technical implementation of the possibility to select an alternative roaming provider is quite complex and expensive (no matter if realized by "single IMSI", "single IMSI+", "dual IMSI" or for data "local break-out" - all explained here on p. 8) I wonder if any operator will pursue this path or if they will prefer the "carrot".


terminals: Samsung: Galaxy S5 DuoS (G900FD); BLU: Win HD LTE; Nokia: 1200; Asus: Fonepad 7 ME372CG; Huawei data: E3372, Vodafone R201, K3765, E1762;
postpaid: O2 on Business XL; prepaid: DE: Aldi Talk, Lidl; UK: 3; BG: MTel, vivacom; RU: MTS; RS: MTS; UAE: du Tourist SIM; INT'L: toggle mobile
VoIP: sipgate.de (German DID); sipgate.co.uk (British DID); ukddi.com (British DID); sipcall.ch (Swiss DID); megafon.bg (Bulgarian DID); InterVoip.com
   
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Default 12-09-2013, 14:34

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Originally Posted by inquisitor View Post
Given that the technical implementation of the possibility to select an alternative roaming provider is quite complex and expensive (no matter if realized by "single IMSI", "single IMSI+", "dual IMSI" or for data "local break-out" - all explained here on p. 8) I wonder if any operator will pursue this path or if they will prefer the "carrot".
Let's hope that at least one "alternative roaming provider" becomes available, otherwise all the networks opt to allow this instead, and will then say that it's not their fault that there are no "alternative roaming providers".
   
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Default 12-09-2013, 15:09

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Let's hope that at least one "alternative roaming provider" becomes available, otherwise all the networks opt to allow this instead, and will then say that it's not their fault that there are no "alternative roaming providers".
Unless the whole EU market switches to the 'stick', the few brave "alternative roaming providers" that choose to come online don't stand much of a chance in the long term and will likely end up in the same boat as United Mobile and the other roaming SIM pioneers.

Incumbents will make it very difficult and pricey for such providers to interconnect with their networks and to operate in general. A good example is the implementation of exorbitant certification fees and longer trouble resolution for third party access customers. We're seeing this as we speak in Eastern Canada with third party IPS' sharing the incumbent's cable network (an incumbent's customer problem gets fixed in 6-24 hours while third party customers my have to wait for up to four weeks to get the same issue resolved).


VladS
Mobile phones: iPhone 5, Blackberry 9900, Nexus S, Samsung S3322 duos
Mobile data cards: Huawei E587u-5, Huawei E583c, Huawei E160
Postpaid SIMs: CA: Fido, Wind; INTL: Telna
Prepaid SIMs: DE: Fonic, Lidl; AT: yesss!, bob; UK: O2; US: AT&T; RO: Orange, Vodafone; FR: b&you, Lycamobile; NL: Lycamobile; BE: Lycamobile, Jim Mobile; CL: Entel; MX: Telcel; INTL: eKit Blue, eKit Yellow
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Default GSMA Group pleads to save roaming cash cow - 12-09-2013, 19:44

The GSMA Group pleads the right to save its roaming cash cow and to continue fleecing its clients "thoroughly and comprehensively":

A European trade group reacted, saying lawmakers should focus on "increased investment in Europe's telecoms infrastructure," rather than elimination of roaming fees.

Europe required a "more thorough and comprehensive approach," said Anne Bouverot, director general of the GSMA group, the Times reported.

EC president supports plan to phase out roaming fees [UPDATE] - UPI.com
   
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Default 12-09-2013, 20:30

Has any carrier expressed any interest in building a Pan-European network?

The EU commission said roaming fees revenues are only like 5% of total revenues?

What is more likely, carriers trying to build networks in all regions or trying to come up with roaming agreements.

I understand that one of the issues with having global LTE devices is that the carriers haven't sorted out the roaming fees for 4G. I guess I shouldn't be surprised that they might want a premium on 4G roaming fees but OTOH, 4G prices in the US at least aren't higher than 3G data contract prices.

So they would want higher roaming fees for customers of carriers outside the EU and of course try to hang onto intra-EU roaming fees.
   
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Default 15-09-2013, 13:31

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Originally Posted by wco81 View Post
Has any carrier expressed any interest in building a Pan-European network?
It depends on what you understand by a Pan-European network. Given that licenses and spectrum are still assigned by the national regulators, you can integrate core networks but for the radio access network there are limitations resulting from the national circumstances. That said I know that Vodafone has integrated and unified a lot of infrastructure including their roaming hub which I think is located in the Netherlands and handles roaming traffic for all the European Vodafone networks.
The EU Commission - once again - is unrealistic in this regard. There's no unified legal framework and no consistent regulation for Pan-European networks but they demand such to be created by the private sector anyway.
I definitely applaud such efforts, but I believe it's done wrong like most things that come from our Brussels bureaucrats.

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The EU commission said roaming fees revenues are only like 5% of total revenues?
Probably on average, but I'm sure that there are EU countries with a significant higher share of revenues that come from roaming, especially those who have much tourism. Once again the discrepancies among member states are neglected by centralistic Brussels.

Quote:
What is more likely, carriers trying to build networks in all regions or trying to come up with roaming agreements.
That's impossible because on the one hand there is no spectrum available in most countries and on the other hand there are numerous smaller players in the EU who lack funds to expand into other EU countries, which by the way do all have highly penetrated markets so it doesn't make sense to compete with the incumbants.
By this new regulation the EU will squeeze those smaller undercutting players out of the market, harm competition and foster oligopols. As a result consumers will have to pay higher prices in their home countries just for saving a few Euros during their holidays.

Quote:
I understand that one of the issues with having global LTE devices is that the carriers haven't sorted out the roaming fees for 4G. I guess I shouldn't be surprised that they might want a premium on 4G roaming fees but OTOH, 4G prices in the US at least aren't higher than 3G data contract prices.
LTE roaming hasn't been implemented on a larger scale because it's still complex and expensive for operators while there's no consumer demand for it as long as data roaming is that expensive. Who would even pay a premium for having their data allowance eaten up in even shorter time?
Also the fact that LTE networks still cannot handle voice calls (VoLTE has still not been deployed) but require a so-called circuit-switched fallback (CSFB) to GSM or UMTS makes it quite complicated to provide LTE roaming service with the required reliability.
European operators indeed try to sell LTE at a premium, which will fail as hardly anyone needs double digit MBit/s in their pockets while UMTS still provides decent datarates in most of Europe. In the US things are different because price levels are higher than in Europe and American operators face a capacity bottleneck on the air interface due to high smartphone adoption rates and limited 3G frequency spectrum. So in the US LTE is more about taking off load from 2G and 3G networks while in Europe it's more about creating a premium service which they hope to sell at higher prices.


terminals: Samsung: Galaxy S5 DuoS (G900FD); BLU: Win HD LTE; Nokia: 1200; Asus: Fonepad 7 ME372CG; Huawei data: E3372, Vodafone R201, K3765, E1762;
postpaid: O2 on Business XL; prepaid: DE: Aldi Talk, Lidl; UK: 3; BG: MTel, vivacom; RU: MTS; RS: MTS; UAE: du Tourist SIM; INT'L: toggle mobile
VoIP: sipgate.de (German DID); sipgate.co.uk (British DID); ukddi.com (British DID); sipcall.ch (Swiss DID); megafon.bg (Bulgarian DID); InterVoip.com
   
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Default 16-09-2013, 15:38

That's a very useful and well-informed post, inquisitor, except that I disagree with the following:
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Originally Posted by inquisitor View Post
By this new regulation the EU will squeeze those smaller undercutting players out of the market, harm competition and foster oligopols. As a result consumers will have to pay higher prices in their home countries just for saving a few Euros during their holidays.
The EU's original proposal was only that consumers can choose a roaming provider other than their home network; this introduces competition which does not exist currently. Now the networks are being given a second option whereby a network can prevent consumers from choosing an alternative roaming provider but only if the home network applies its domestic prices when roaming. This additional option gives more flexibility to networks; they can choose either option.

As you suggest, small competitive MVNOs might be unable to extend their domestic prices for roaming throughout the EEA, but they still have the option of allowing an alternative roaming provider. Giffgaff in the UK is a good example. Although Giffgaff charges £7.50 for a gigabyte in the UK, it charges a whopping £450 per gigabyte in other European countries, i.e. 60 times as much. Unlike other UK networks, Giffgaff doesn't offer any data roaming bundles. Since Giffgaff does not aim to be competitive for roaming and its domestic prices might be too low to extend for usage throughout the EEA, it might choose the original first option of allowing its customers to use an alternative roaming provider.
   
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Default 19-09-2013, 00:48

You are right. The EU plans indeed consider smaller operators who cannot offer Europe-wide single tariffs due to their limited geographical footprint. But as you and VladS have suggested above it has to be feared that the market for alternative roaming providers may suffer from discrimnation by the large multinational operators and that it may not be able to compete as long as it remains an alliance of regional underdogs.


terminals: Samsung: Galaxy S5 DuoS (G900FD); BLU: Win HD LTE; Nokia: 1200; Asus: Fonepad 7 ME372CG; Huawei data: E3372, Vodafone R201, K3765, E1762;
postpaid: O2 on Business XL; prepaid: DE: Aldi Talk, Lidl; UK: 3; BG: MTel, vivacom; RU: MTS; RS: MTS; UAE: du Tourist SIM; INT'L: toggle mobile
VoIP: sipgate.de (German DID); sipgate.co.uk (British DID); ukddi.com (British DID); sipcall.ch (Swiss DID); megafon.bg (Bulgarian DID); InterVoip.com
   
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Default 21-09-2013, 16:35

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Originally Posted by inquisitor View Post
You are right. The EU plans indeed consider smaller operators who cannot offer Europe-wide single tariffs due to their limited geographical footprint.
The European Commission is suggesting that mobile networks form alliances, similar to airlines, in order to cover countries where they don't have their own networks.

This already happens to some extent. If you look at the preferred networks on any SIM card supplied by a European network, you will find one preferred network in each country as the result of commercial agreements between sister networks and even between independent networks. That's why, for example, when you roam with an O2 UK SIM card in Germany, it will always log on to O2 Germany unless there's no signal. Most modern phones don't let you see the preferred network list on the SIM, let alone edit it.

However, when all the above changes are introduced, I doubt that preferred networks will come into play, because we will probably be able to use only one network in each country. For example, O2 UK will not want its customers straying on to Vodafone in Germany which would cost it more money.
   
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Default 08-10-2013, 11:13

There have been several reports that the UK government is opposing the European Commission's plans, mainly relating to licensing auctions (from which the UK government makes more money than other countries), but also with regard to roaming charges.

http://crave.cnet.co.uk/mobiles/brit...rges-50012383/

http://www.totaltele.com/view.aspx?ID=483485

http://www.mobileworldlive.com/repor...-telecoms-plan

http://www.cbronline.com/news/tech/n...ion-ban-011013

It is disappointing that the UK government is siding with the mobile networks, who stand to lose a huge amount of unwarranted profit on intra-EEA roaming, rather than protecting its electorate from unreasonable charges.

This isn't helped by the widespread British insular mentality that it's normal for everything "foreign" to cost more, whether it be outgoing/incoming bank transfers, comprehensive car insurance, credit card usage or cash withdrawals. For example, the UK government hasn't opted to include GBP in SEPA, unlike Sweden which opted to include SEK. I am often surprised by how many of my compatriots still believe there are customs controls for importing goods into the UK from other EU countries, even 20 years after such controls were abolished. While such a mentality remains, the UK will unfortunately continue to find intra-EEA roaming charges to be acceptable.
   
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