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European Parliament Votes For Net Neutrality, Forbids Mobile Roaming Costs

timothy posted about 9 months ago | from the everything-not-expressly-permitted dept.

Communications 148

First time accepted submitter TBerben (1061176) writes "The European Parliament has voted to accept the telecommunications reform bill. This bill simultaneously forbids mobile providers from charging roaming costs as of December 15, 2015 and guarantees net neutrality. Previous versions of the bill contained a much weaker definition of net neutrality, offering exemptions for 'specialized services,' but this was superseded in an amendment (original link, in Dutch) submitted by Dutch MEP Marietje Schaake (liberal fraction). Note that the legislation is not yet definitive: the Council of Ministers still has the deciding vote, but they are expected to follow the EP's vote."

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Moo (0)

Chacham (981) | about 9 months ago | (#46647991)

According to a European Commission survey published in February 2014, 94% of Europeans who travel outside their home country limit their use of the web, including social media such as Facebook, because of the cost of mobile roaming.

Catch that? including social media such as Facebook

I knew Facebook was everywhere. Taken over little by little. First Occulus, now the Occident.

Good, I guess (3, Interesting)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about 9 months ago | (#46648071)

I'm big on NN, but I do admit there are good points made for market driven forces to allow buildup of delivery services. That breaks down with the lack of competition at the ISP level. I assume its similar in Europe as the US.

Riddle me this. If Netflix pays and ISP for delivering its content with quality...should not all subscribers to that ISP, regardless of what plan they signed up for, get Netflix at the highest possible bandwidth?

This issue can't be piecemeal-ed.

Re:Good, I guess (5, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | about 9 months ago | (#46648167)

Net Netrality is less of a problem in Europe. Our ISPs aren't nearly as monopolised as they seem to be in the US. To be honest, I'm not even sure that this is automatically a goood thing. I don't mind my Netflix getting a extra bandwidth, as long as this is bandwidth in addition to what everyone already gets. The problem is establishing whether the high payers are getting extra or everyone else is gettign a reuced service. There's no actually a difference; it just depends what you consider the baseline to be.

Re:Good, I guess (1, Redundant)

Chelloveck (14643) | about 9 months ago | (#46649101)

Then think about it reverse situation. I'm Amazon. We've been having a hard time getting traction for our streaming service; that lousy Netflix has the market locked up. We have all the bandwidth we need, so paying the ISP for more won't help. I know! We'll pay them to throttle Netflix's bandwidth!

Or, I'm Comcast. We own NBC, and their ratings suck rocks. So we'll give preferential treatment for subscribers who stream our properties, and throttle the speed of properties we don't own. And if people really want to watch other content we can charge them extra to remove the throttling. Call it the "Special SpeedBoost Streaming Package" and charge our subscribers $10/month extra for it.

Or, I'm Sony. Let's slip Comcast a little to make sure that PSN games have a higher network priority than XBone games. Et voila! See how much faster and smoother PlayStation is compared to XBox!

Re:Good, I guess (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about 9 months ago | (#46649159)

If Netflix gets its own servers installed at the ISP, that's an improved service, but my understanding is that operators want to do things like prioritise traffic to/from their favoured clients when the network is oversubscribed, which is double-dipping.

Re:Good, I guess (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46650339)

Net Netrality is less of a problem in Europe. Our ISPs aren't nearly as monopolised as they seem to be in the US. To be honest, I'm not even sure that this is automatically a goood thing. I don't mind my Netflix getting a extra bandwidth, as long as this is bandwidth in addition to what everyone already gets. The problem is establishing whether the high payers are getting extra or everyone else is gettign a reuced service. There's no actually a difference; it just depends what you consider the baseline to be.

You mean net neutrality (and partially price) isn't an issue in the EU because of:
http://europa.eu/legislation_summaries/information_society/internet/l24108j_en.htm

Re:Good, I guess (4, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 9 months ago | (#46648309)

I'm big on NN, but I do admit there are good points made for market driven forces to allow buildup of delivery services.

When each ISP is a local monopoly, then there is no market. If every home had a choice of a dozen ISPs, there would be no need for NN. NN is needed to prevent ISPs from abusing their monopoly power.

Re:Good, I guess (5, Informative)

91degrees (207121) | about 9 months ago | (#46648411)

Well, in Britain I had the choice of BT, Virgin, TalkTalk, Sky, Plusnet, Tesco, Clara.net and a whole load of others. So I don;t think any of them are local monopolies.

Re:Good, I guess (5, Insightful)

smooth wombat (796938) | about 9 months ago | (#46648445)

Where I live in the U.S., I have two choices: Comcast or Verizon.

Both charge $75/month for 15/5 which is the package available.

You will this situation in many parts of the country where competition is defined as two companies charging the same high price for the same slow speeds.

Re:Good, I guess (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46648547)

GP failed to mention that the choice within the UK is mostly between BT and Virgin, everyone else uses BT wholesale services. In the USA I believe the idea of the FCC forcing AT&T to wholesale its lines to competitors is completely alien?

Re:Good, I guess (2)

raju1kabir (251972) | about 9 months ago | (#46648747)

In the USA I believe the idea of the FCC forcing AT&T to wholesale its lines to competitors is completely alien?

It actually used to be the law of the land. During that period (around 2000) there was an incredibly vibrant broadband ISP scene. Unfortunately the FCC changed its mind (and no doubt a few briefcases full of cash changed hands) and now the situation has reverted to the anti-consumer oligopoly you see today.

Re:Good, I guess (2)

91degrees (207121) | about 9 months ago | (#46648953)

I may be wrong, but don't BT Wholesale just sell the chunk of connection between the home and the exchange? It would be difficult for BT to interfere with data rates on a per packet basis here. So there is actually competition even amongst the DSL providers,

Re:Good, I guess (1)

91degrees (207121) | about 9 months ago | (#46648781)

Which suggests things are the wrong way round :) Unless the wholesaler charges extra to the end company (e.g. Netflix) - and I don't think it's set up so that they can - competition in Europe should for the most part prevent this sort of problem. In the US there is no competition to speak of, nor is there any apparent plan to create any. That's where net neutrality is actually needed.

Slow speeds, hah! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46649049)

Where I am, there technically are choices. Satellite (slow and unreliable), cellular (expensive for any reasonable amount of use), cable (if you can deal with the cable company, and its notoriously unreliable here), phone DSL (slow, but reliable). I have the DSL, and I pay for the slowest possible connection -- 6 megs. What I get is 1.5. I'm inside the city limits, just too far away from everything.

Then again, they're talking about gigabit to the home over fiber. Unless, of course, someone complains that the city utility is preventing competition.

Re:Good, I guess (2)

jalopezp (2622345) | about 9 months ago | (#46648583)

The point of net neutrality is that net traffic is treated as a commodity. If service providers can choose which packets to give preferene, they not only compete on price and speed, they also compete on the shape of their packet preferences. This means competition moves from a commodity model to a monopolistically competitive one, which is less efficient. Granted, a duopoly is much less efficient, so it may be a moot point, but net neutrality is overall good, no matter how many ISPs there are.

Re:Good, I guess (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 9 months ago | (#46651015)

Less efficient for theconsumer.

But more profitable for the Corporations that SCOTUS and Congress work for.

It takes more than that. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46648775)

When each ISP is a local monopoly, then there is no market. If every home had a choice of a dozen ISPs, there would be no need for NN. NN is needed to prevent ISPs from abusing their monopoly power.

In the USA, you'd need more than just a dozen nominally different ISPs. You'd need these ISPs to be truly independent, rather than simply different masks laid over the same set of functionally identical 1% ruling class predators. You'd need a culture that rewards progress, rather than one that permits a hereditary ruling class to establish strong legal barriers to free market functions.

Re:Good, I guess (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46651495)

Wow, you really did just stop reading after the quoted section. From the OP:

That breaks down with the lack of competition at the ISP level.

Re:Good, I guess (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46648469)

Riddle me this. If Netflix pays and ISP for delivering its content with quality...should not all subscribers to that ISP, regardless of what plan they signed up for, get Netflix at the highest possible bandwidth?

Nope, not at all. If Netflix pays an ISP to do this, an ISP's obligations should be to buy MORE bandwidth so that other activities doesn't affect Netflix's services and to also ensure that Netflix doesn't rock the boat regarding other data on the network.

Re:Good, I guess (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46648661)

Netflix should be able to purchase quality connections to an ISP and customers should be able to purchase quality connections to their ISP, but Netflix should not be able to use the ISP to purchase connections directly to the customer. All deals between a customer and their ISP should be exclusively between the customer and their ISP, not some 3rd-party trying to "bribe" their way into encouraging an ISP to not maintain their core infrastructure.

Re:Good, I guess (3, Interesting)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 9 months ago | (#46648817)

ISPs advertise, amd charge more for, higher speeds to your house.

It's fraud to deliberately degrade Netflix to attempt to extort from them a portion of what I pay Netflix.

Cynicism (1, Interesting)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 9 months ago | (#46648099)

Option A : Mobile providers make less money next year.

Option B : Mobile providers raise the standard charges the exact necessary amount to avoid having losses due to this law.

Option C : Mobile providers raise the standard charges more than necessary and justify the raise saying ordinary people need to pay for the yuppies who roam Europe in their sports cars while chatting on their phones.

Re:Cynicism (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46648145)

The mobile provides in much of Europe are in the mid of a race to the bottom for years, whoever raises charges will go bankrupt because everyone will just move to another carrier.

Re:Cynicism (5, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | about 9 months ago | (#46648253)

Option D: Mobile operators don't make significant losses because roaming charges are a pretty small chunk of their income, and it's offset by increased usage by travellers.

Re:Cynicism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46648383)

Dude, increased usage means more cost for the provider. How does that offset the income loss? Unless, of course, a subscriber goes over whatever BS limits the carrier has imposed?

Re:Cynicism (1)

91degrees (207121) | about 9 months ago | (#46648509)

Limit? What is this? My monthly cost is zero, and I get charged for phone calls. Where do you live where you're limited to how many calls you can make?

Re:Cynicism (4, Insightful)

raju1kabir (251972) | about 9 months ago | (#46648933)

increased usage means more cost for the provider. How does that offset the income loss?

Let's say the carrier currently charges EUR 1/MB for a service that costs them EUR 0.02/MB to provide, and customers use 1 million megabytes. That's EUR 20,000 in costs and EUR 980,000 in profit.

Then they are forced to charge their domestic rate of EUR 0.10/MB for roaming data, and customers stop being stingy and use 20 million megabytes. That's EUR 400,000 in costs and EUR 1,600,000 in profit.

Obviously these numbers are plucked straight from my ass but surely you can see how it's possible. Roaming charges are almost pure profit as it is, and that's only possible because we're a captive market.

P.S. What is up with Slashdot still not being able to display the Euro symbol (â)? This is 2014, isn't it?

Re:Cynicism (1)

tsa (15680) | about 9 months ago | (#46649759)

Apparently it doesn't work that way or we would not have had roaming charges and the EU would not have to force them upon the providers.

Re:Cynicism (2)

raju1kabir (251972) | about 9 months ago | (#46650617)

Right, I forgot, markets invariably find optimal price points on their own, and regulation never helps anything. See you in church.

Re:Cynicism (1)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | about 9 months ago | (#46651049)

You crack me up.

But you're right - the people who run these providers are _dumbasses_. They never thought of ending roaming charges as a way to _make_ money.

Lolzers.

Re:Cynicism (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 9 months ago | (#46648983)

Dude, increased usage means more cost for the provider. How does that offset the income loss? Unless, of course, a subscriber goes over whatever BS limits the carrier has imposed?

Not really. It all evens out. If I'm abroad then I'm not connected to a cell tower in my home country.

This is incorrect (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46648631)

Having worked in the roaming business for GSM operators, I have been told stories of how a 15 people department secured 50% of a certain client company's profits. Yup. That was the roaming department managing and implementing all the bilateral roaming agreements.

Re:Cynicism (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46648763)

Roaming charges are not what you think they are then.

Roaming is the most highly profitable part of a mobile carrier's income, because not every carrier can cover every square kilometer with service. The difference with the EU, unlike the US, is that one carrier often can cover the entire country, but not the entire EU. Euro's are accustomed to owning multiple SIM cards in unlocked phones. In the US the only roaming that happens is between the US and Canada or the US and the Caribbean. While certainly some roaming happens between the US and Mexico, it's not part of the NANPA, so Mexico is actually considered "international" roaming while US/CA/Caribbean is considered national roaming.

All MVNO's operate on a wholesale cost which is a different price from roaming charges. If all roaming charges are eliminated, then MVNO's are put out of business, as there is no incentive to use a MVNO when it's cheaper to just use the carrier directly. To be fair, most MVNO's are prepaid carriers anyway, while most mobile carriers have their own prepaid brand. So it ultimately is a question of who benefits.

Canada recently told the carriers (who all collude to keep prices high) that roaming rates are to be capped. "The roaming rates that Canada's largest wireless companies are charging other domestic providers can be more than 10 times what they charge their own customers"

Ultimately I think this is what the EU solution is trying to solve as well.

Re:Cynicism (1)

j'vai (3603175) | about 9 months ago | (#46650491)

aaah, that explains truphone's crazy charges in the central, south, & the carribeans..

this is wishful thinking in the dark, but i pray what's happening with this EU no roaming thingy ties with what's about to happen here in the US -

http://www.cnet.com/news/sprint-to-join-rural-operators-in-nationwide-roaming-hub/

if sprint & softbank can push the envelope on this thing, & offer more dual mode handsets, (with sprint lightening up on their unlocking policy on the gsm sim side of those hansets) just, maybe, we can join in on the fun..

Re:Cynicism (1)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | about 9 months ago | (#46651041)

They should have a +0: Wishful thinking moderation.

If this were true, operators would have already stopped roaming charges because it's probably moderately expensive to track, bill, and maintain the infrastructure/software for it.

I love it when people try to pretend "government knows best, it will help businesses!". Of course this will cost them money, don't be silly. They'll have to make it up somewhere else.

Re:Cynicism (5, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 9 months ago | (#46648279)

My mobile provider (3, in the UK) has started rolling out a thing that lets you use your inclusive minutes and data allowance in other countries without any extra charge (the costs if you go over those limits are pretty dire). It was actually cheaper for me to use data on my mobile when I visit the US than it was for the people I was visiting, on my last trip. I think they've seen the writing on the wall and started making these agreements long before they were needed. They're able to do this and charge 3p/minute for calls, 2p/text and 1p/MB for data (pre-pay - if you get a bundle and buy in bulk then things are cheaper, but the bundles are time limited).

Re:Cynicism (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about 9 months ago | (#46649139)

They started out by offering free roaming onto the other "3" subsidiaries in other countries (which are actually different companies in the same parent group). I guess they noticed how this encouraged people to actually spend money while roaming.

Re:Cynicism (1)

jittles (1613415) | about 9 months ago | (#46649161)

My mobile provider (3, in the UK) has started rolling out a thing that lets you use your inclusive minutes and data allowance in other countries without any extra charge (the costs if you go over those limits are pretty dire). It was actually cheaper for me to use data on my mobile when I visit the US than it was for the people I was visiting, on my last trip. I think they've seen the writing on the wall and started making these agreements long before they were needed. They're able to do this and charge 3p/minute for calls, 2p/text and 1p/MB for data (pre-pay - if you get a bundle and buy in bulk then things are cheaper, but the bundles are time limited).

Just got back from a trip out of the US. With T-mobile I had free text and data in three different countries but the cost for a voice call was $0.20 a minute. Of course, with free data, I could use my voip service to make calls at $0.01 per minute.

Re:Cynicism (1)

Xrikcus (207545) | about 9 months ago | (#46649859)

Even roaming charges in countries not covered by that scheme are better. I maintain a 3 phone on a UK number even though I live in the US, partly because it's a way to keep the number I've had for 15 years, and partly because it is just cheaper to use in all countries other than the US. At the moment it's even cheaper to use IN the US if calling the UK, as you point out.

Re:Cynicism (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 9 months ago | (#46648293)

Roaming causes no extra costs to the mobile providers (in europe) it only gives them unjustified extra money.

Re:Cynicism (1)

CRCulver (715279) | about 9 months ago | (#46648341)

Since pan-European operators like Orange or Vodaphone are actually made up of many individual companies registered at the national level, would the use of an Orange network in country A by a customer from country B not result in at least some added accounting expense, as these individual companies have to coordinate their records?

Re:Cynicism (1)

jalopezp (2622345) | about 9 months ago | (#46648609)

It will result in some added accounting expense for the companies. Part of the idea is to integrate the fragmented telephony market into a single Europe-wide one.

Re:Cynicism (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 9 months ago | (#46649925)

The accounting expenses will be exactly the same like they are right now.

Re:Cynicism (1)

nospam007 (722110) | about 9 months ago | (#46648625)

"would the use of an Orange network in country A by a customer from country B not result in at least some added accounting expense..."

About the same as a network in country B by a customer from country A.
The costs cancel each other out.

When they don't have to meter and bill the customers they'll have a net plus.

Re:Cynicism (1)

CRCulver (715279) | about 9 months ago | (#46648705)

The costs cancel each other out.

How do you know that? I think it is pretty obvious that, say, more customers from Orange Romania visit the territory of Orange France than vice-versa.

And this new legislation will change nothing of the way that operators are legally registered.

Re:Cynicism (4, Insightful)

bickerdyke (670000) | about 9 months ago | (#46648887)

Sorry, but that's the internal business of orange or Vodafone.

There WAS a reason, back when phone companies were indeed seperate companies, so the roaming costs were justified for those additional costs for both inter-company and inter-country accounting and banking.

But the EU did as much as they could to get rid of those additional costs for international business. A company (in ANY business down to a family plumbing business!) can now serve the whole of europe without worrying about different tax, costumer protection, safety, or pipe-gauge regulations. The even invented a whole new currency for a bunch of countries, just to make business easier.

At the same time, a wave of mergers hit the cellphone market with a few big players being active in every european country. ALSO to save money and getting rid of that internal accounting.

If they're still loosing money for "coordinating internal records", it's their own fault and nothing that would justify roaming charges.

Re:Cynicism (5, Insightful)

FireFury03 (653718) | about 9 months ago | (#46648381)

Option B : Mobile providers raise the standard charges the exact necessary amount to avoid having losses due to this law.

Option C : Mobile providers raise the standard charges more than necessary and justify the raise saying ordinary people need to pay for the yuppies who roam Europe in their sports cars while chatting on their phones.

The rates are largely set by the market - if they could get away with raising their standard rates, don't you think they would have already done so?

Also, you're ignoring a 4th option: they might actually make more money by having reasonable roaming charges. As an example, on my PAYG contract I pay £0.01/MB while at home, but while on a trip to Canada earlier in the year it would've been £6/MB - *600 times the domestic charge*. The upshot was that I simply turned off 3G on my phone and didn't use it at all - zero profit for the MNO. If the charges had been more reasonable then I probably would've left it turned on and they would've made some money. Same goes for voice calls too. (FWIW, roaming charges within the EU have been regulated for some time and are much much lower anyway)

This is basically the EU saying "you've shown you can't be trusted to not take the piss, so we're taking our ball and going home".

Re:Cynicism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46648777)

The rates are largely set by the market - if they could get away with raising their standard rates, don't you think they would have already done so?

Sorta, what you charge should be as close to MR=MC as possible (not as easy to figure out when there are 50 competitors). Yes it is possible to make too much money (as my econ teacher from 25 years ago put it to me). Then spent the next few weeks showing us how and why. You actually hurt yourself and leave money on the table.

Now this works if you have many competitors. If you only have 1 or 4 (as we have in the states) you pick the spot which extracts you the max profit as you own the whole audience and the demand curve is fairly vertical and MR=MC is easy to figure out.

Re:Cynicism (2)

TheDarkMaster (1292526) | about 9 months ago | (#46648931)

Also, you're ignoring a 4th option: they might actually make more money by having reasonable roaming charges.

It is a very good option, but she has no place in current sociopathic way of thinking of corporations. Currently they only use the option that brings maximum profit in minimum time, no matter the consequences.

Re:Cynicism (2)

Joce640k (829181) | about 9 months ago | (#46649009)

Also, you're ignoring a 4th option: they might actually make more money by having reasonable roaming charges.

This bill is about not having *any* roaming charges. You pay the same abroad as you do at home.

Re:Cynicism (1)

FireFury03 (653718) | about 9 months ago | (#46650897)

Also, you're ignoring a 4th option: they might actually make more money by having reasonable roaming charges.

This bill is about not having *any* roaming charges. You pay the same abroad as you do at home.

Yes, so they will make some money from me when I'm abroad, just as they do when I'm at home. Compared to, at the moment, them making nothing from me while I'm abroad.

Re:Cynicism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46649381)

"The rates are largely set by the market - if they could get away with raising their standard rates, don't you think they would have already done so?"

I would argue that they have done so. In the EU, or the Netherlands at least, mobile operators charge ridicilous (per-message or via subscription bundles) fees for SMS messaging. This is what made "Whatsapp" hugely popular and managed to by and large completely replace SMS messaging (which is now reduced to something you merely use to message your grandma who hasn't found out about Whatsapp yet). This sudden loss of income caused one of the largest Dutch mobile operators KPN to play with the idea of charging extra fees for users of Whatsapp and other internet instant messaging solutions which caused such outrage that politicians got involved and started working on NN, which has now reached the EP. I think our current NN regulation still allows packet shaping/bandwidth management to improve the quality ofthe network and allow for things like higher reliability for some services.

I really do not feel that the internet/mobile operator market (in The Netherlands) is healthy enough that this is something the government principally shouldn't be allowed to regulate to some degree. There's only one cable network infrastructure in The Netherlands operated by two large companies (Ziggo/UPC), and the DSL infrastructure has been privatized and is owned by KPN now, who for the most part has bought up and owns all DSL operators, making the laws that are in-place to allow third-party use of the DSL infrastructure mostly obsolete. Ziggo is about to be acquired by UPC reducing the number of cable operators to exactly one. Mobile operators are plenty (tho many bought up and owned by KPN) but like cable/DSL it's hard for newcomers to get on the market due to the required infrastructure/limited spectrum and those that do are likely to get bought up as well.

Re:Cynicism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46650421)

The rates are largely set by the market

By which you mean the cell carriers, who essentially gouge as much as they can until customers squeal too loudly.

Then they back off a little, wait a few months, and raise the prices.

Every time someone says the prices are set by the market, I cringe. Because generally whatever cartel controls that market is who really sets the prices.

The free market is a myth. A fiction. A fantasy.

Actually (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | about 9 months ago | (#46650915)

This is basically the EU saying "you've shown you can't be trusted to not take the piss, so we're taking your ball and going home".

FTFY

Re:Cynicism (1)

jalopezp (2622345) | about 9 months ago | (#46648519)

Option D : More likely, large mobile providers in the more populous countries of the EU will stop making supranormal profits from corporate customers who travel for work, a hundred small operators from smaller countries will go bankrupt, and most others will merge or be acquired by a larger firm.

I'm not trying to be funny. It's very easy to switch mobile operators, and there are a lot of mobile operators, which makes it very unlikely that they can collude on high prices. Most likely there will be an shift in the industry's organizational landscape from country-wide four- or five-firm oligopolies into a more integrated continent-wide model. The largest obstacle for this to happen is that while no roaming charges may apply yet, we still have higher prices for international calls within the EU. These would need to go if we want to see a single market in Europe for mobile telephony, and to be honest, it should have happened years ago. Perhaps with the elimination of roaming charges the largest emerging mobile operators, who now have nothing to lose, will push for a single market.

Re:Cynicism (2)

LQ (188043) | about 9 months ago | (#46648939)

Option C : Mobile providers raise the standard charges more than necessary and justify the raise saying ordinary people need to pay for the yuppies who roam Europe in their sports cars while chatting on their phones

Or low paid workers going abroad to find work can afford to phone home. Or workers who commute across borders don't have to turn their phones off.

Where roaming fees come from (2)

Sockatume (732728) | about 9 months ago | (#46649117)

There's little actual cost involved in facilitating roaming. What happens is that every network charges the others high roaming charges, and nobody has any incentive to be the first one to drop and therefore lose the money.

Touristy places will be in for a surprise.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46648111)

Well, I'll be interested in seeing what coverage tourist hotspots will have in the future.. The incumbent operators will have little or no incetive to build out their network capacity/coverage, since the need to upgrade capacity is mainly driven by tourists. Which they will not make much money off anymore.

Re:Touristy places will be in for a surprise.. (5, Interesting)

TBerben (1061176) | about 9 months ago | (#46648187)

Tourists either switch off their phones, or put them in flight mode, because of the exorbitant roaming charges they would otherwise make. I doubt they make up a significant portion of the operators' income. Your argument is easily reversed: the operators might experience an increase in revenue, once tourists actually start using their phones abroad.

*you* would be surprised (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46648663)

...how much money the (European, at least) GSM operators make on roaming. If you saw the numbers.

Re:*you* would be surprised (1)

Alioth (221270) | about 9 months ago | (#46650903)

I wouldn't be after one of our managers managed to run up (without realising) a bill of nearly 2 grand's worth of roaming charges when they went to the UK. That was just their phone polling for email.

Re:Touristy places will be in for a surprise.. (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 9 months ago | (#46649083)

Tourists either switch off their phones, or put them in flight mode, because of the exorbitant roaming charges they would otherwise make. I doubt they make up a significant portion of the operators' income. Your argument is easily reversed: the operators might experience an increase in revenue, once tourists actually start using their phones abroad.

Yep.

This is karma for all the years they've been price-gouging people just because they cross a border for a few days.

And it serves them right.

A lot of them have been charging ridiculous amounts of money. Some of them even charge the recipient of the call as well as the caller - i.e. somebody calls you from a company account they don't pay the bill for and it costs you money to listen to them yakking for half an hour.

Re:Touristy places will be in for a surprise.. (1)

HetMes (1074585) | about 9 months ago | (#46648195)

Would you go to a tourist place where your internet that you intend to use to keep in touch with home sucks? Maybe you will, but how many like you?

Re:Touristy places will be in for a surprise.. (4, Insightful)

FireFury03 (653718) | about 9 months ago | (#46648413)

Would you go to a tourist place where your internet that you intend to use to keep in touch with home sucks? Maybe you will, but how many like you?

Yes, I would. Because oddly, when I'm on holiday I'm actually more interested in doing holiday type stuff than spending my time using the internet. Its useful *occasionally* (getting weather forecasts, etc.) but it's not a huge loss to not have it. Which is why I turn roaming data off on my phone when I go abroad and just use wifi hotspots in cafes, etc. on the occasions I want to use the internet.

Re:Touristy places will be in for a surprise.. (1)

91degrees (207121) | about 9 months ago | (#46648839)

While I largely agree, Google maps and translate can be pretty useful. And to a lesser degree, posting photos on social networks is nice, if not all that important.

Re:Touristy places will be in for a surprise.. (2)

FireFury03 (653718) | about 9 months ago | (#46650869)

While I largely agree, Google maps and translate can be pretty useful. And to a lesser degree, posting photos on social networks is nice, if not all that important.

I've found that preloading your tablet / phone with openstreetmap maps works extremely well - I spent 2 weeks navigating around the Canadian rockies with Osmand running on a tablet and had no problems. Posting photos on social networks can probably wait until you're within range of a wifi hotspot.

Re:Touristy places will be in for a surprise.. (1)

Zebedeu (739988) | about 9 months ago | (#46650501)

Yes, I would. Because oddly, when I'm on holiday I'm actually more interested in doing holiday type stuff than spending my time using the internet.

I find I use the internet a lot more when I'm visiting some place than when I'm out and about in my own city - when I manage to find a convenient way to go online, which is rare.
This is because in my home city I don't need to check my maps to know where I'm going, I don't care as much about the weather since if the weather turns I can always find something else to do, I don't need translation services nor do I need to look for a decent restaurant as often, and I don't need to be checking for hotels since I have my comfy bed waiting for me.
I'm also a lot less active in social networks when I'm at home because there's a lot less interesting going on to justify posting.

I don't mean to say that I'm glued to my phone when I'm on vacation. In fact it's the reverse: I can optimize my time by searching for what I want more efficiently and get back to tourisming.

Re:Touristy places will be in for a surprise.. (1)

LQ (188043) | about 9 months ago | (#46648969)

Would you go to a tourist place where your internet that you intend to use to keep in touch with home sucks? Maybe you will, but how many like you?

I know this is /. but do you choose your holiday destination on the connectivity?

Re:Touristy places will be in for a surprise.. (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 9 months ago | (#46649097)

Would you go to a tourist place where your internet that you intend to use to keep in touch with home sucks? Maybe you will, but how many like you?

This bill covers the European Union, a bunch of geographically-close first world countries.

Internet coverage is usually better here than in the USA.

Re:Touristy places will be in for a surprise.. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46648197)

Well, I'll be interested in seeing what coverage tourist hotspots will have in the future.. The incumbent operators will have little or no incetive to build out their network capacity/coverage, since the need to upgrade capacity is mainly driven by tourists. Which they will not make much money off anymore.

Tell me something, are americans subject to roaming charges when going from California to Nevada ? Or Utah ? Or Arizona ? Or Florida ?
For the EU it's the same thing. Although we are not a federation, and telco companies still think in terms of nation states, one reason for the being of the EU was a common market. And in a common market you cannot have roaming charges just because you happen to go from France to Italy or Germany for example.

Re:Touristy places will be in for a surprise.. (3, Insightful)

Zocalo (252965) | about 9 months ago | (#46648637)

That would be excellent if this happened, although unlikely given how much the local population that supports the tourist trade is likely to rely on that same mobile coverage. I go on vacation to *get away* from the daily grind, yet of late it has got to the point that you can't go anywhere without someone yakking on a mobile phone, and I go to some pretty out of the way places to try and make that happen. The absolute last thing you want to hear when you reach Everest Base Camp, slightly out of breath from the lack of oxygen and effort, and are just starting to take in the amazing view is:

*Latest naff ringtone*
"Hello...?"
*pause*
"Yes, I'm climbing Mount Everest!"

It kind of ruins the moment, you know?

Re:Touristy places will be in for a surprise.. (1)

grahamm (8844) | about 9 months ago | (#46649183)

Or even worse when you do not even leave your home country but your phone happens to connect to a mast in a neighbouring country.

Re:Touristy places will be in for a surprise.. (1)

RotateLeftByte (797477) | about 9 months ago | (#46651379)

It does happen and sometimes the costs can be severe.

There is a small costal village in Kent that for a while had no UK mobile coverage. Instead they were connected to a French Carrier 22+ miles away. The uproar foced at least one UK carrier to put a basestation in the village. This ruling will eliminate the charges if you happen to connect to the french carrier

I've been in Basel on the Swiss side yet my mobile insists on connecting to one of the French networks. This ruling won't stop roaming charges if your phone is registered in Switzerland.

Re:Touristy places will be in for a surprise.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46648213)

The incumbent operators will have little or no incetive to build out their network capacity/coverage, since the need to upgrade capacity is mainly driven by tourists.

Operators don't depend on tourists to upgrade capacity, they undertake such initiatives because they know that more and more local residents are willing to pay for data contracts (or prepay with data included). I've watched higher mobile bandwidth get rolled across whole swathes of rural Eastern Europe where there is no tourist influx to speak of, because even in the villages people want to access Facebook on the go (or at home, using a mobile connection in lieu of fiber).

Re:Touristy places will be in for a surprise.. (1)

raju1kabir (251972) | about 9 months ago | (#46648997)

The incumbent operators will have little or no incetive to build out their network capacity/coverage, since the need to upgrade capacity is mainly driven by tourists.

What are you talking about? There is almost no place on earth where the majority of phone traffic comes from tourists. Maybe airports.

No more roaming charges ? Thats great !! (1)

arjun.jrao (1976036) | about 9 months ago | (#46648117)

I live in India and here too, the roaming charges are exorbitant. Though there are only a handful of operators, I see no technical reason why roaming charges should exist (Similar to how SMS has no implicit cost to the telecom, but we are charged anyways). I can only dream of a day where such a law will be passed in my country *No roaming charges* *Weep with joy*

Well, that does it (2)

NuAngel (732572) | about 9 months ago | (#46648141)

I'm moving to Europe. The real parts, not the Russian parts.

Re:Well, that does it (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46648467)

Since I'm european, I would like to inform you about a few things about the EU, in order for you not to take the wrong decision:

A) Yes, the net-neutrality principle is going to be very strong, if the Council will approve the same text as the Parliament. However, I don't think this is the most important thing for mankind

B) The EU is composed of 28 Nations. It's not a single nation. 28 different cultures, 25 different languages, several ethnic groups. See it as a giant NAFTA, rather than a "country"

C) The entire economic policy is established by the EU Commission, whose members are picked by governments. It is notoriously submissive to lobbysts, no less than the american congress, probably more. For example, this very piece of legislation was far weaker when it was proposed by the Commission, luckily the Parliament has improved it, but it doesn't always happen

D) Greece has been reduced to a third-world country because of EU's, ECB's and IMF's decisions. Even free vaccines have been cut. Spain, Portugal and Ireland are sharing a similar fate. Italy has also experienced a huge recession because of EU's policies.

D) The 18 members of the eurozone lost their monetary sovereignity. The ECB basically follows the same policy as the old Bundesbank. They don't care about recessions, they don't care about speculative attacks against single eurozone countries, they just care about "price stability". They basically masturbate if the inflation rate is low. They saved private banks instead of countries. What would have happened to the american economy without the Federal Reserve's quantitative easing? Something like 1929, which is exactly what has been happening in europe recently

E) The EU Parliament, which is the only democratically elected EU institution, has fewer powers than a normal parliament: it cannot propose new legislation, but only either approve, amend or veto bills drafted by the Council or the Commission, whose members are chosen by single national governments

The 4 richest countries in europe, excluding Luxembourg (which is basically a meaningless tax haven), are all either outside the EU or the eurozone: Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland...
Maybe that's not a coincidence.

Think twice before coming here.

Re:Well, that does it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46648627)

Greece did it to themselves. You can't accuse EU for that, except for giving them money at all.

Re:Well, that does it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46648683)

Wrong. They could have let Greece default on its debts. It would have been better for greek people, but not for european banks.

Just compare the greeks with the argentinians (who defaulted on their debts 15 years ago), the latter are in far better shape. Obviously a default isn't something "good", but it's still better than 5 years of recession.

Re:Well, that does it (4, Insightful)

johnsie (1158363) | about 9 months ago | (#46648799)

The Argentinian economy is still a mess 15 years later. More than half the population there live in extreme poverty. You cannot blame the EU for the Irish and Greeks being irresponsible. That was their fault. They allowed it to happen. The people voted for governments who allowed it to happen. They took all the benefits and didn't pay attention to what was actually happening financially. Things would be alot worse if they, especially Ireland, hadn't received bailout money from EU countries. Greece were a wealthy country maybe a few thousand years ago, but they were pretty poor before this crisis and should never have borrowed such money. Going down the Argentina route wouldn't have helped in any way.

Re:Well, that does it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46648899)

Wrong. Check the IMF's online database, and you'll find out that Argentina's real per-capita GDP has actually increased since 2001, when they defaulted. So either they were in "extreme poverty" even before, or they aren't now.

Re:Well, that does it (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46649119)

The Greek government scammed Greece into the EMU with the assistance of Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and numerous other banks. Financial products were developed which enabled the government of Greece to hide their borrowing.
Greek government-debt crisis [wikipedia.org]

Greece was a third world country that posed as a first world one and got itself into all this trouble.
If the Greek government hadn't scammed Greece into the EMU it would have had its own currency and could have default on its debts.

Re:Well, that does it (2)

Alioth (221270) | about 9 months ago | (#46650935)

Greece did it to themselves, but the EU in its breathless rush to get the Euro under way also decided to ignore the fact that Greece didn't qualify for the Euro under their own rules and let them in anyway. Greece being allowed into the Euro has caused Greece a lot of pain (and caused the eurozone plenty of problems).

Re:Well, that does it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46648743)

Not to mention that everything the EU does, begins with the words "EU forbids ..."

Re:Well, that does it (4, Insightful)

Sique (173459) | about 9 months ago | (#46648923)

In a free country, everything the government does, can be spelled as "The goverment forbids...", because in a free country, everything is allowed except for the things that are explicitely forbidden.

Only if it was forbidden before, the government actually can allow something.

Re:Well, that does it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46649533)

In a free country, everything the government does, can be spelled as "The goverment forbids...", because in a free country, everything is allowed except for the things that are explicitely forbidden.
Only if it was forbidden before, the government actually can allow something.

That explains why the land of the free cannot allow gay marriage.

Re:Well, that does it (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46649425)

A) Good thing
B) How does that even matter when someone would like to move to the EU?
C) So the Commissions proposed a law, and the Parliament made changes to that law to make things better for the EU-population. Seems to work great I'd say.
D) Greece, Spain, Portugal & Ireland went bankrupt because their national governments fucked things up. If the EU, ECB & IMF would not have gotten involved the economies of those countries would have been destroyed by speculants. The problem there was not enough control by the EU instead of too much control.
D) Monetary sovereingity of small countries like most in the EU means nothing in a globalised world. When the Euro was in problems, speculants tried to devalue it as much as possible for profit. Individual countries would have never been able to stand up to that.
E) In most countries ministers are also not democratically elected but are chosen from the members of the ruling parties, and are also the ones creating and changing laws.

Re:Well, that does it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46649779)

The most stable currency on the planet is the swiss franc, and it comes from such a tiny country. And "speculants" had a huge party with the euro in place. Finally, as Argentina proves, sometimes a default is better than a dramatic and neverending austerity-driven economic decay.

You have the same knowledge of economics as a McDonald's assistant.

Re:Well, that does it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46650079)

Fine. Tell these stories to the european voters. According to several polls, anti-EU movements are going to get 20-30% of the EU Parliament's seats in the next EU elections to be held on May 25th: Front National from France, Five-Star Movement from Italy, Syriza from Greece, UKIP from the UK, AfD from Germany, True Finns from Finland, Wilder's party from the Netherlands, and many others.

Think about what would happen if roughly a third of the american congress was controlled by parties or movements that actually want to dismantle the USA. Wouldn't it be funny?

Re:Well, that does it (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46650305)

True Finns from Finland

Hello from Finland. The Perussuomalaiset (True Finns) are mainly an anti-brown-people-immigration party. They have never formulated a coherent policy on the EU in general, and support among the Finnish population for doing away with the euro, Erasmus, Schengen, labour mobility, etc. is extremely low even among True Finns voters (many of whom do not care for the party but want to send a message to the major parties which, they feel, have got too comfortable with the status quo).

Re:Well, that does it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46650557)

So I guess that wikipedia is wrong...?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

Re:Well, that does it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46651597)

So you just list the few good things about EU and euro and forget all the rest of the crap about EU and then conclude that everybody wants to be in EU. Also just because there are few bad apples or assholes in a party doesn't make the whole party bad. Don't try to twist things into being what you might dream off.

Re:Well, that does it (1)

Arker (91948) | about 9 months ago | (#46650729)

"Yes, the net-neutrality principle is going to be very strong, if the Council will approve the same text as the Parliament. However, I don't think this is the most important thing for mankind."

It's certainly better than the alternative.

"What would have happened to the american economy without the Federal Reserve's quantitative easing?"

A market correction, liquidation of bad investments, and restructuring allowing for the economy to really grow again.

Unfortunately the EU equivalent is much more like the Fed than you give them credit for, however.

Re:Well, that does it (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46650819)

D) Greece has been reduced to a third-world country because of EU's, ECB's and IMF's decisions. Even free vaccines have been cut. Spain, Portugal and Ireland are sharing a similar fate. Italy has also experienced a huge recession because of EU's policies.

That's just over-exaggerated. Having just come back from a week's holiday to Portgual and Spain (from the UK), their standard of living doesn't seem anywhere near a third-world country. The supermarkets stock exactly the same type of things as they do in France and here in the UK, the roads are well-maintained (both toll and non-toll), the hotels are absolutely fine, as are the (non touristy) places I went to visit. The only signs of a troubled ecoonmy that I saw were some abandoned house-building projects in the south of Spain. Aside from that, as a visitor you really wouldn't know those countries were having problems with their economies...

Re:Well, that does it (1)

jonfr (888673) | about 9 months ago | (#46651307)

> D) Greece has been reduced to a third-world country because of EU's, ECB's and IMF's decisions. Even free vaccines have been cut. Spain, Portugal and Ireland are sharing a similar fate. Italy has also experienced a huge recession because of EU's policies.

Greece did this to them self. I also want to point out that health care related matters are not subject to EU rules or laws. Expect when it comes to travellers and tourists getting health care if they need to via the EU blue health card. As for Spain, Portugal and Ireland. They are all recovering. If you want to know why this happens you have to ask your bank (if it is an big international bank, but ask anyway if its your local bank. He may have taken part in this too).

Re:Well, that does it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46648699)

I'm moving to Europe. The real parts, not the Russian parts.

In Soviet Russia all European parts are Russian parts.

Re:Well, that does it (1)

inasity_rules (1110095) | about 9 months ago | (#46649311)

You must drive a Lada.

tubgIrL (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46648893)

surpriS3 to the

owning a truphone sim (2)

j'vai (3603175) | about 9 months ago | (#46649771)

I wondered how this would affect their rates, then a google search produced -

http://www.bizjournals.com/triad/prnewswire/press_releases/North_Carolina/2014/04/02/LA96177

Cool for those that frequent travel over the pond often, but, for the carribeans, south, central americas, no love -

$1.71per min outgoing calls
$1.13per min incoming calls
$0.51per SMS
  $8.57per MB

If you're one who vacation frequently in these spots, & may have to overcome the language & time barriers upon stepping off the plane, the truphone sim, is good ONLY for a quick fast, until you can land a local prepaid sim, which may take & communicational effort..

I'm thinking at worst, in place such as St Martin, where the island is divided on ither side with cell provider coverage (I think digicel's trying to change that), the work hunting down & obtaining a prepaid sim when you switch sides from French to Dutch..

the roaming charges of carriers, are akin to interests charges of financial institutes..
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