EU data roaming traffic jumps 435% in Q3 after RLAH implementation

Wednesday 14 March 2018 | 14:42 CET | News

Data roaming traffic in the EU rose 435 percent year-on-year in the third quarter of 2017 to over 84 million GB, according to a report from the EU regulatory group Berec. The first quarter after the implementation of 'roam like at home' charging in the EU shows the measure is a "clear success from the end-user point of view", said Johannes Gungl, chairman of Berec, at a debriefing following Berec's latest plenary meeting. 

Berec approved at the meeting its latest report on roaming in the EU. While roaming volumes varied across EU states, there was a clear increase in data traffic across the region in Q3, Gungl said. Around 88 percent of active mobile users in the EEA to advantage of RLAH. 

In addition, the report found that wholesale roaming rates were well below the regulated price caps set by the EU, for data as well as voice and SMS. In some cases, wholesale prices were even below the estimated minimum cost level calculated by the regulators, with the lowest data priced offered less than a quarter of a eurocent per MB. 

Net neutrality evaluation

The EU regulator also approved the start of a new six-week public consultation on the implementation of the net neutrality rules which took effect in 2016.  The stakeholder input will help Berec provide feedback to the European Commission's first review of the regulation, which is due by end-April 2019. Gungl said the consultation is looking for concrete examples from market players on how they are experiencing the net neutrality rules, as well as their expectations for how 5G will affect net neutrality, particularly with the adoption of network slicing techniques. 

Furthermore, the Berec members approved the conditions of a tender for a contractor to develop an internet quality measurement tool. The net neutrality regulation includes requirements for national regulators to monitor the quality of internet services delivered, and Berec wants to develop a common platform that national regulators can choose to use. The tender should be completed by September and the measurement tool available a year later. 

In other news considered at the latest Berec meeting, Gungl said the regulators held a workshop looking at the implications of 5G on business models, based on a report conducted for the group by an external researcher. In addition, a workshop was held with the EU agency Enisa to look at cybersecurity issues surrounding the IoT and 5G. 

The chairman also commented on the recently published report by Berec on the market for intra-EU calls. The regulator looked at this market following a European Parliament proposal to cap the cost of international calls in the EU. Gungl said Berec is collecting more data on this and expects to publish a more complete analysis at the end of April. 

Even sooner, Berec plans to publish on 19 March its opinion on the European Commission's proposed changes to the significant market power guidelines. Gungl declined to comment on Berec's stance ahead of the publication. 

No role for Berec in peer review

The chairman also commented on the ongoing negotiations over the new Electronic Communications Code. He said Bered was "very disappointed" to learn that the regulator had not been given a role in the proposed peer review of spectrum auction plans, under the latest agreement reached by the European Parliament and Council. Given the significant impact of spectrum licences on market competition, Berec felt it should have a role to play in the proposed feedback mechanism for member states planning to release new frequencies. "If peer review stays at it is, this is a missed opportunity to realise the goal of greater harmonisation" across the EU, Gungl said. 

Free Headlines in your E-mail

Every day we send out a free e-mail with the most important headlines of the last 24 hours.

Subscribe now

::: add a comment