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 Monday, August 26, 2013

ITU will host a High Level Workshop to review developments in International Mobile Roaming services (IMRs), 23-24 September in Geneva.

The event will bring together senior representatives of relevant ministries, regulatory bodies and operators to review developments in IMRs, by examining the economic and regulatory steps which have been taken to reduce prices and improve competition.

Results of a new ITU Report on “International mobile roaming services: Facilitating competition and protecting users ” will be presented during the Workshop. The paper analyses initiatives to address high prices for international mobile roaming services as well as measures to improve protection for users. Providing analysis of a number of policy and regulatory initiatives and changes in the roaming business model and marketplace, the paper examines developments and discusses best practices and recommendations to develop more efficient markets for international mobile roaming services.

Roaming was a hot topic at the recent World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) with Article 4 of the International Telecommunication Regulations on International Telecommunication Services stating:

4.4 Member States shall foster measures to ensure that authorized operating agencies provide free-of-charge, transparent, up-to-date and accurate information to end users on international  telecommunication services, including international roaming prices and the associated relevant conditions, in a timely manner.

4.5 Member States shall foster measures to ensure that telecommunication services in international roaming of satisfactory quality are provided to visiting users.

4.6 Member States should foster cooperation among authorized operating agencies in order to avoid and mitigate inadvertent roaming charges in border zones.

4.7 Member States shall endeavour to promote competition in the provision of international roaming services and are encouraged to develop policies that foster competitive roaming prices for the benefit of end users.

The text within the international treaty followed agreement by ITU Members from the public and private sectors on measures to reduce ‘bill-shock’ whereby consumers are faced with unexpected and excessive charges for mobile roaming. In September 2012 they approved Recommendation ITU-T D.98, which includes a number of measures to empower consumers and encourage operators to lower tariffs. These measures  represented the first truly international agreement taking steps towards lowering roaming costs.

Participants at the High Level Workshop will be given the opportunity to discuss this Resolution and Recommendation as well as other Recommendations, best practices and initiatives which have led or could lead to lower prices, facilitating more competition and protecting users.

The event is free of charge and open to all ITU Members, mandatory registration is via this webpage. All the information about this High Level Workshop is available on the website: www.itu.int/en/ITU-D/Regulatory-Market/Pages/Events2013/GE_Roaming/home.aspx.

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