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Call to end fees for mobile roaming
Aggregated Source: Shanghai Daily: Business

EUROPE'S top telecom regulator called for an end to mobile roaming fees and equal access to the Internet in a speech at the European Parliament yesterday, as she sought backing for reforms to create one market for telecom services in the region.

In line with comments e-mailed to Reuters a day earlier, Neelie Kroes said her vision for the sector was for "pan-European operators helping consumers take advantage of a borderless market" as well as "increased investment in quality networks and content."

The reform effort stems from growing concerns that Europe is falling behind the United States, Japan and South Korea in terms of the quality and speed of broadband and mobile networks, although European consumers do benefit from paying among the lowest prices for telecom services.

Big operators like Telefonica, Vodafone and France Telecom often blame Europe's interventionist telecom rules for sapping their ability to invest, as well as fragmented national markets that hamper economies of scale.

Now roughly three months into Kroes' effort to come up with reforms to reverse Europe's lag behind the US and Asia in mobile and broadband, some telecom executives and investors worry the action from Brussels will fall short of the rhetoric.

It seems Kroes' team is preparing more limited steps than what telecom bosses had called for and what industry groups want, said people briefed on the plans.

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Copyright Shanghai Daily: Business