In a ‘single market’ almost all young people feel they are being ‘roamed’ when they travel

Even for those who have their telephone bills taken care of by their company, it can be irritating. You arrive in Barcelona, say, for the Mobile World Congress, say, and you turn your phone on. You are a Vodafone customer, say (other networks are available), and it searches for a network. Several seconds later it says it has found one – Vodafone. Some minutes later you get a text saying that roaming charges will apply but since you pay a ‘traveller’ fee, they are reduced.


But to many it is monstrous.

EU Commissioner Neelie Kroes is one who thinks it is monstrous. And as a speaker at the recent Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, she was presumably ‘roamed’ with the rest of us. She has been diligently trying to stop this ridiculous practice for some years now. She even had a deadline – July this year.

Then, of course, large executives from Vodafone paid her a visit and she put it back a year or so.

Now she has conducted some research so that she can say it is not just her opinion that it is wrong in a single market to be treated as if it is many markets. The research was conducted among 1,000 ‘young of Europe’ – those between 18 and 34.

Almost all of them feel restricted when they travel and only a third leave data roaming on. Again, a huge majority said they would use data in the same way as they do at home if the roaming charges disappeared. This equates to roughly half the ‘young’ population of Europe. It is not difficult to ‘do the math.’

It also ties in with BillingViews’ own in-depth survey on the subject, carried out with two teenagers.

This extra piece of research will presumably ‘shock’ Neelie Kroes as much as the last piece of research which said the same thing. This time, though, she says that it is the job of those in Brussels to deliver the end of roaming.

What is sad is that the technology and the innovation are already there to take advantage of what must be an immediate and huge revenue opportunity. Local Break out of Service (LBS) functionality is being built into billing and charging platforms. Real-time functionality allows operators to offer – as an interim solution hopefully – passes and special offers for roamers. SIM based solutions are also out there.

The irony – the joke in a single market – is that when you really go a roaming, in your BMW, say, and you drive across Europe, you do not get hit with roaming charges, but when the young man in Finland goes for a jog, he has to make sure he has switched his data off otherwise he gets hits with those roaming charges.

End this roaming madness now!



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About Alex Leslie 400 Articles
Alex was Founder and CEO of the Global Billing Association (GBA), a trade body focused on the communications sector. He is a sought after speaker and chairman at leading industry conferences, and is widely published in communications magazines around the world. Until it closed, he was Contributing Editor, OSS/BSS for Connected Planet.

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