Telekom Austria criticises EU roaming caps
European Union price caps aimed at cutting the cost of using a mobile phone outside a user's home country have not encouraged greater use, Telekom Austria Chief Executive Boris Nemsic said on Monday, Reuters reported.
"Our customers did not roam more, even though prices have come down," Nemsic told reporters. Most "roaming" usage still comes from business customers who are not price sensitive, he added.
EU Telecoms Commissioner Viviane Reding pushed through the caps on such call charges, saying prices charged to consumers were outrageous.
The European Parliament and EU states will have to decide if the caps should be extended beyond 2010.
"There is no need for extension for this regulation. After 2010, retail price increases are simply not possible. There is no example in our industry where prices went up," Nemsic said.
Reding will also decide in July whether to propose extending the price caps to how much telecom companies can charge customers for texting outside their home state and for data roaming or surfing the Web on a phone or laptop in another EU country.
Nemsic said such a move would be a mistake, particularly in data roaming, as the market was still in its infancy.
"The only service in Europe with falling prices is telecommunications. We are regulating something that becomes cheaper and better anyhow," Nemsic said.
Telekom Austria is lowering its prices for roaming texts and data, but they will still be above the level Reding wants the industry to reach before July 1 to avoid her intervening.
Separately, Reding is due to propose guidelines that will effectively curb how much telecom companies can charge each other for routing fixed line and mobile calls - known as termination rates - as part of putting downward pressure on prices consumers pay.
"The European Commission should not intervene in a disruptive manner so that the mobile termination rate is too low to cover investment," Nemsic said.