GSMA releases statement on varying call costs across Europe.
Following the European Commission’s press release on the difference in phone call prices across the EU, Tom Phillips, Chief Government and Regulatory Affairs Officer, has issued a statement in response.
"While I fully support Commissioner Kroes’ desire to create an effective single European market for mobile services, this does not imply a single price. In a press release issued on 6 August, the Commissioner compares the different prices of domestic mobile phone calls in EU countries to the price of a litre of milk – a point that reveals a fundamental misunderstanding of market conditions.
"No serious comparison can be made between the mobile and dairy industries. Dairy producers are not rolling out "next-generation" milk infrastructure that is central to European economic competitiveness, nor are they meeting consumer demands by offering people "all you can drink" contracts."
The original report found that At 9.7 euro cents per minute, the UK average for mobile calls was slightly above the European average of 9.1 euro cents per minute.
The data collected also revealed the biggest disparity was between Lithuania at 1.9 euro cents per minute, and the Netherlands at a steep 14.7 euro cents per minute – a huge difference for mobile users in these countries.
"The difference between these call prices is in stark contrast to those for other basic goods in the European single market. A litre of milk, for example, can be bought for between €0.69 and €0.99 throughout the EU, a price difference of only 43%," said the report.
But Tom Phillips appears to believe that Commissioner Kroes was milking it.
"The research cited by the Commissioner mistakenly claims that there is ‘one standard minute’ of mobile phone service – there isn’t. Some mobile phone calls will be pre-paid, some will have subsidised handsets, some will buy bundles of minutes, some will be heavily discounted for volume business users, and so on. Why don’t all insurance policies cost the same across the EU? The answer, like for mobile services, is because different people want different things."
Kroes, who has also been a driving force behind the reduction of EU roaming charges in recent years, added that the differences were impossible to justify and that she would seek to introduce fresh legislation in September to help create more equal call charges across the EU, but with the GSMA not seeing eye to eye with Kroes, her hopes might turn a little sour.
Phillips said that: "To create a successful single European market, I encourage the Commissioner to focus on coordinating the release of spectrum made available through the digital dividend, rather than embarking on an unnecessary fourth wave of roaming regulation."