Press release - BEREC's Opinion on amending the Roaming Regulation proposed by the European Commission

Document number: BoR (21) 62
Document date: 30.04.2021
Date of registration: 30.04.2021
Document type: BEREC Press Releases
Author: BEREC

Today, 30 April, the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) has published its Opinion on the proposal of the European Commission (EC) for amending the Roaming Regulation. In 2019 and 2020, BEREC already provided its Opinion to the EC that analysed the benefits of the Roaming Regulation as well as the functioning of the retail and the wholesale roaming market and made suggestions for a future review of the Regulation. Against this background, BEREC analysed the EC’s proposal on the impact of the proposed measures. In general, BEREC welcomes the review and the continuation of the “Roam Like at Home” principle, which has proven to be an evident success and a substantial contribution to further completing the EU single market.

Quality of Services
BEREC appreciates the new provisions regarding Quality of Service, however, considers that more guidance on the Quality of Service obligations is needed either in the recitals of the Regulation or via other means. BEREC would be ready to provide Guidelines on retail Quality of Service obligations in case legislators deem it necessary.

Value added services
BEREC welcomes the provision that from 1 July 2022, once the regulation enters into force, the operators have to inform customers on the possible increased charges due to the use of value added services. The intention is to increase the transparency of value added services on the wholesale level via the database that BEREC has to establish. This database is supposed to be available by the end of 2023. BEREC considers that additional guidance is needed and states that it is of the intention to finalise the work on the value added services database earlier than required; as it would be a helpful tool for the mobile service providers.

Emergency services
The proposed Regulation includes provisions at both wholesale and retail levels for accessing the emergency services. Although BEREC has not identified particular issues regarding emergency services, it welcomes this initiative due to the importance of uninterrupted, effective and free-of-charge access to emergency communications. BEREC suggests establishing a central information point (e.g. official website) that provides the relevant information on all of the emergency communication in each Member State.

Wholesale caps
BEREC’s Opinion includes an analysis of the proposed wholesale caps taking into account the results of the Axon cost model that was used by the EC to underpin the proposed wholesale caps. BEREC has compared the results of the cost model with the proposed price caps up to 2025, and arrived to the conclusion that for almost every year, the proposed caps cover the unit costs for all the modelled scenarios and all the modelled countries.

BEREC notes that there are some discussions regarding the uncertainty about the costs of 5G, since 5G was not incorporated in the Axon model due to a lack of data. Operators, although requested, were not able to provide data at the time the model was built. Therefore, BEREC proposes to have a review of the regulation in 2025, taking into account the impact of 5G on costs. This would allow enough time to set up an extensive cost study for 5G, to which BEREC will be available to contribute and provide its support to the EC.

Additional measures, such as personalised pricing information
Furthermore, in its 2019 and 2020 Opinion and input to the EC, BEREC proposed some additional measures that were not incorporated in the proposed Regulation and that are repeated in BEREC’s current Opinion. Those are, among others, additional transparency measures for roaming in satellite networks, opt-out option for the cut-off limit and additional measures for mobile virtual network operators.

BEREC welcomes that the EC continues to assign to NRAs and BEREC the relevant tasks of monitoring the roaming market, dispute resolution and providing Guidelines. NRAs as well as BEREC have contributed to the smooth and consistent application of the Roaming Regulation since its first adoption and, therefore, have a high level of expertise.