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 Monday, 16 January 2017

Togo has become the latest country to join a programme abolishing international mobile voice roaming charges between a group of west African nations. Agence Ecofin reports that the Togolese Authority of Posts & Telecommunications Regulation (ART&P) signed an agreement last week with its Senegalese counterpart to introduce free voice roaming for travellers between the two countries from 31 March 2017. Via the pact signed in Dakar, Togo also abolished mobile roaming costs with Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Mali and Burkina Faso, all of which ratified a Protocol on regional roaming alongside Senegal on 28 November 2016. Director General of Senegal’s Regulatory Authority for Telecommunications & Post (ARTP), Abdou Karim Sall, announced upon Togo’s signing: ‘The free roaming will enter into force on 31 March 2017, [which] will enable those travelling within six Protocol countries … to receive and make calls as if they were in their own country.’ Although not mentioned in this statement, several regional publications have reported that a seventh country, Sierra Leone, is joining the west African roaming initiative, which is part of a wider plan to create a more united African continent as promoted by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, 16 January 2017 08:30:26 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, 01 September 2015

Mobile operators in Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe are to cut cross-border roaming fees as part of a pilot project due to be launched by 1 September. According to a report from the Namibian newspaper New Era, all cellcos in the four southern African countries have agreed to implement a glide path to reduce roaming tariffs. A statement from the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN) has said that operators in any of the other eleven member states of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) will be eligible to join the pilot scheme if they apply before 1 October. According to CRAN, a recommendation will be made to the Communications Regulators’ Association of Southern Africa (CRASA) that a regional clearing house be established to ensure lower costs for roaming in the region.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, 01 September 2015 09:23:11 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Ugandan cellular operators MTN and Airtel have confirmed that they have implemented the One Network Area arrangement which has removed international roaming costs for calls between Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda. MTN has gone one step further, adding South Sudan to the scheme. As reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate last week, cellcos in Rwanda and Kenya had implemented the scheme last year, acting on a decision by the Northern Corridor Summit Heads of State.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015 10:04:34 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Orange has announced plans to remove roaming charges in its largest post-paid plans across its entire European footprint. The new plans, for customers travelling within Europe are launching across Orange’s key European markets, including France, Spain, Poland, Belgium, Romania, Slovakia and Luxembourg and will be implemented throughout 2014.

The initiative is coupled with the news that Orange will launch 4G roaming from February for customers in France travelling to the UK, Portugal and South Korea. Further to this, technical readiness to deliver 4G roaming has been achieved in a further five markets including the UK (EE), Spain, Romania, Portugal and Moldova. LTE roaming will be fully available across Orange’s European footprint by the end of 2014, including major destinations outside of Europe.
Orange is also making improvements to its existing Go Europe roaming tariffs for its remaining pay-monthly customers across Europe. The improved Go Europe offers will be tailored to individual market needs, with offers launched from February onwards.

Group chairman and CEO Stephane Richard commented, “The results of our first Go Europe offers indicate that we are striking a chord with our customers, and we hope that these new improvements will instil further confidence that using your mobile abroad won’t bite.”

Source: Telecom Paper.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014 16:04:08 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, 02 July 2013

Wireless code to help Canadians make informed choices and contribute to a dynamic marketplace.

Today, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) issued a wireless code that will make it easier for Canadians to understand their contracts and sets out their basic rights. The code will apply to new contracts for cellphones and other personal mobile devices starting on December 2, 2013.

The wireless code addresses the main frustrations that Canadians shared with the CRTC, which included the length of wireless contracts, cancellation fees, roaming charges and other industry practices. Among other things, individual and small business consumers will be able to:

  • terminate their wireless contracts after two years without cancellation fees, even if they have signed on for a longer term
  • cap extra data charges at $50/month and international data roaming charges at $100/month to prevent bill shock
  • have their cellphones unlocked after 90 days, or immediately if they paid for the device in full
  • return their cellphones, within 15 days and specific usage limits, if they are unhappy with their service
  • accept or decline changes to the key terms of a fixed-term contract (i.e., 2-year), and
  • receive a contract that is easy to read and understand.

The wireless code will apply to all service providers in Canada. In particular, the code will apply in full to postpaid services (where customers pay a monthly bill after using their services), and where applicable to pre-paid wireless services.

Source: CRTC.

Tuesday, 02 July 2013 07:22:44 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, 23 April 2013

The head of Ukrainian competition watchdog AMKU, Rafael Kuzmin, has stated that cellcos Kyivstar and MTS Ukraine have agreed to reduce intra-national and roaming rates by 20%-25%, according to a report by BizLigaNet, cited by Telecompaper. The news follows pressure from AMKU, which has asked the operators to fulfil rate obligations within the next ten days, and to implement the recommendations on roaming rates within 30 days, having threatened them with a maximum fine of 10% of annual revenues.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013 10:24:46 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, 22 June 2012

In an attempt to counter the increasing roaming charges for Canadian mobile-phone users, Roam Mobility Inc is offering consumers a better alternative.
According to a report by Globe and Mail, the Vancouver-based upstart, marketing itself as a rogue mobile company, is aggressively ramping up its rollout of cellphones, SIM cards and other devices to entice Canadians looking for cheaper alternatives to high roaming rates the major wireless companies charge when customers travel to the United States with their smartphones in tow.
Roam Mobility’s chief executive officer Emir Aboulhosn, said that they will not tell users to switch from Rogers, Telus and Bell – they’re just asking users to stop using them when they cross the border. Roam estimates that Canadians spend $800-million a year on international roaming fees, with roughly $450-million spent on U.S. roaming alone.
As per the report, Roam Mobility launched its service in January, competing with the major carriers by offering Canadian travellers unlimited talk and text plans from $3 a day, including free calls to Canada. Its data rates start as low as 2 cents a megabyte.
With the summer travel season just around the corner, Roam is in expansion mode. It will announce a new partnership with Allegiant Air to sell its products during flights starting June 1. Allegiant is a U.S. airline that services border airports such as Niagara Falls, N.Y., and offers discounted fares to popular U.S. destinations.
Roam’s products are already available at a number of Canadian and U.S. airports and at major land border duty-free shops. They will also be sold at Future Shop starting next month. Its product line includes a cellphone for talk and text; SIM cards that can be used in a consumer’s own unlocked phone; and personal “hotspot” devices that provide a high-speed data connection for up to five wireless devices (like smartphones, tablet computers or laptops) at the same time.
The report reveals that Roam has already attracted close to 20,000 customers and is on track to hit the 100,000-subscriber mark in the second quarter of 2013. Even though the vast majority of its customers are people who travel to the U.S. in short spurts, Aboulhosn says Roam can afford to be aggressive with its pricing because its capital expenditures and overhead costs are relatively low.

Source: Wireless Federation

Friday, 22 June 2012 15:05:56 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Telefónica banishes bill shock with the announcement of its first standard pan-European data roaming tariff – giving smartphone customers 25MB of high-speed Internet usage anywhere across the 27 European Union member states for just $2.54 a day.
Telefónica’s EU-wide tariff means mobile customers – on Movistar or O2 networks – will no longer have to worry about the cost of sending or receiving emails, updating their Facebook status or browsing the web on their smartphones when travelling or holidaying abroad.
For $2.54 a day, Telefónica is giving its smartphone customers travelling in the EU a data volume of 25 Megabytes – which translates to 250 visits to essential websites like Facebook, Twitter, Google or BBC Online and up to 500 emails. Additionally, customers will only pay for days they choose to use data, and will not be charged should they wish to switch off their phone.
The Telefónica tariff weighs in at a fraction of new price caps announced by the European UnionFacebook, Twitter, Google – which ruled that as of 1 July, one data megabyte should cost no more than $0.9, or $22.25 for 25 MB. On a per megabyte basis, Telefónica’s European tariff works out considerably cheaper than the EU’s regulated rate.
José María Álvarez-Pallete, Chairman and CEO of Telefónica Europe, said that users no longer need to switch off their smartphones when travelling within the EU, and neither do they need to worry about bill shock when they get home. Further, their European data tariff gives smartphone customers great value while allowing them to do what really matters – to stay connected wherever they are in a simple and transparent way and with complete peace of mind.

Smartphone customers use on average around 6MB in a day, but any Telefónica customers exceeding 25 MB will be immediately notified.  The Pan-European tariff launched in Germany in May and will be available this summer to O2 and Movistar customers in Spain, United Kingdom, Ireland, Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Friday, 22 June 2012 14:48:23 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

German mobile network group E-Plus has announced a new EU data roaming option called 'EUReise-Paket' (EU Travel Package). For EUR 10, contract customers of Base, E-Plus, MTV Mobile, Metro Mobil and wir mobil will get 100 MB of data valid for 30 days. The new option will be available from 01 June for mobile browsing on a smartphone. If a customer's uses their 100 MB allowance before the 30 days are up, they will pay EUR 0.29 per additional MB of data. Customers using this new tariff will pay EUR 0.19 per minute for all incoming and outgoing calls in the EU, plus a EUR 0.29 charge per outgoing call.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Friday, 22 June 2012 14:43:51 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Thailand's National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) has urged all mobile operators to implement fair information and service practices after some customers were surprised by large bills for international roaming, reports The Bangkok Post. The NBTC introduced its 'mobile passport', a handbook it advises mobile users to read before they go abroad. Commissioner Prawit Leesathapornwongsa said the measures are meant to stop so-called 'bill shock'. To raise public awareness of bill shock, the NBTC has teamed up with the Consular Affairs Department, Thai Airways International and Airports of Thailand to launch a data-roaming campaign to inform mobile users about how to surf the internet safely while travelling.

Leesathapornwongsa said more than 100 customers have been hit by surprisingly large bills on international roaming services over the past two years, with costs totalling THB 4 million. Complaints from AIS customers numbered 55 cases, with the highest bill THB 270,000. DTAC had 34 complaints, with the highest bill at THB 120,000, while True Move recorded 28 complaints with the highest bill at THB 294,900.

The NBTC suggested international roaming users select tariff plans that fit their usage and select an operator before they go abroad. Mobile users can choose VoIP services, cheap alternative systems or buy local Sim cards abroad. Leesathapornwongsa said the NBTC wants clearer information for customers from operators about what they charge for services locally and abroad and greater protection for consumers from hefty data charges.

The NBTC prohibits operators from automatically activating international roaming for customers without their permission. AIS vice-president for international roaming Weerachai Patcharopartwong said it uses a centralised control system so customers do not have to worry about roaming costs. A warning message is issued when customers' data roaming usage exceeds their package limits. For unlimited data roaming users, the company will automatically skip roaming services not included in their plan. AIS will make roaming-limit services automatic this month to reduce the problem of bill shock. They are currently optional and require customers to sign up ahead of time, said Patcharopartwong.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Friday, 22 June 2012 10:03:36 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, 16 March 2012

Meteor Ireland has become the first operator to abolish roaming charges in Europe enabling consumers to pay the same charges for calls and texts as when they are at home.

According to the company, the new service applies to both Pay-as-you-go and Bill pay customers. Further, the new policy would enable customers to pay more than 60 per cent less than Vodafone and O2 while roaming.

For users on the operator’s pay-as-you-go service, the call rates will be dropped to US$ 0.38 while texts will be charged at US$ 0.16. While, on the other hand, Bill Pay customers will be charged US$ 0.13 for a text and US$ 0.33 for a call. Also, all incoming calls and texts would be free for the consumer.

Reports reveal that Bill Blake, spokesman for Meteor has classified this decision as a groundbreaking one. He said that their customers will no longer have to worry about paying more for calls and texts while in the EU, with the added benefit of being able to receive calls from family and friends for free, as reported by the Irishtimes.

Talking about mobile data charges while roaming, Blake said that the wholesale rate for data in Europe at the moment is US$ 1.04 per Mb so they will be dropping their charges by 90 per cent. He concluded by saying that as this price continues to drop they will be hoping to pass that on to consumers but they’ve unfortunately not been able to bring it in line with domestic rates just yet.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Friday, 16 March 2012 09:49:16 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, 14 July 2011

­A meeting of Government Ministers from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has agreed to work on cutting mobile roaming rates between their countries.

The GCC Ministers decided to adhere to the Ministerial resolution made at a meeting three years ago, which stated that the GCC countries will move the implementation of proposals from a working group for a 30% cut in roaming rates.

In a statement, the GCC Telecommunications Regulatory Authorities said that they will inform the operators immediately after the meeting to implement the resolution. The GCC is a political and economic union of the Arab states constituting the Arabian Peninsula, namely Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates.

Source: Cellular News


Thursday, 14 July 2011 09:47:58 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, 05 February 2010

­A new report from Tariff Consultancy (TCL) says that voice and SMS roaming rates in Europe have halved between 2007 to 2010 due to an EU roaming price cap - but with very few prices applied below the cap. EU mobile roaming data rates are on average 5.4 euro, 5 times the 1 Euro per MB wholesale rate though individual operator data roaming rates vary from below the wholesale cap to more than 10 times the cap rate.

Click here to see full article

Increasingly though mobile operators push a series of separate "opt in" roaming bundles for consumers that bypass the EU roaming cap which offer roaming discounts in return for a weekly or monthly fee to selected holiday destinations but can attract higher rates to EU countries than the EC rate cap.The net effect of the rebalancing of mobile roaming tariffs outside of the EU has been to make roaming services to the US or other countries relatively expensive by comparison with the EU.

For example:

- The price of a roaming voice call from the EU zone to the next geographical tariff zone has an average mark up of 200%

- The price of SMS roaming outside the EU zone to the next geographical zone has an average mark up of 160%.

- The price of Mobile Data roaming outside the EU zone to the next geographical zone has an average mark up of 270%.

Source: Cellular News

Friday, 05 February 2010 09:20:58 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, 25 June 2009

Vodafone Greece, has introduced a new roaming service dubbed as Vodafone Europe.  The offer comprises of the Vodafone Europe Voice or Vodafone Europe Data subscriptions. Priced at EUR 18 per month, the package offers national rates for outgoing calls from EU to Vodafone networks in 11 countries in the EU as well as for international calls from Greece to EU networks. Moreover, receiving calls in Vodafone networks is free.  Vodafone Europe Data is priced at EUR 70 per month and offers 1 GB of data transfer in Greece and 11 Vodafone networks in EU. The 11 Vodafone networks where the two services can be used include Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Romania, Great Britain, Germany, Ireland, Malta, Portugal, and Spain.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Thursday, 25 June 2009 15:03:54 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, 08 June 2009

Zain, the leading mobile operator in Middle East and Africa has brought its Sierra Leone operations under the borderless ‘One Network’. The mobile service will allow the Zain subscribers in the African and Middle East nations to be a part of the mobile community.

Zain subscribers will be able to communicate between these countries and be treated as local subscribers in terms of pricing, while using their home network service.

“Today marks another milestone in the history of Zain as we launch our award winning ‘One Network’ service in another country. Now it covers 18 countries and an area larger than the United States of America and with a population of more than 500 million people,” said Dr. Saad Al Barrak, Zain’s group CEO. He said the introduction of ‘One Network’ mobile service is part of their Drive11 initiative.
The One Network service enables subscribers to make calls and SMS at local rates and will receive incoming calls and SMS for free.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Monday, 08 June 2009 09:09:32 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |