On the blog Un européen jamais content, Cédric Puisney asks 'Neelie Kroes finira-t-elle avec le roaming ?', but he notes that the problem is much wider than pure roaming charges. It concerns the lack of competition and a real single market for telecommunication services in general:
Mais pourquoi les opérateurs joueraient-ils plus le jeu de la concurrence ? Dans une Union à 27, j’ai bien peur que la loi du marché s’appliquera uniquement si l’on applique de nouvelles règles imposant d’emblée un marché européen unifié avec une zone de tarification unique.
Par ailleurs, dénoncer un manque de concurrence au niveau du roaming revient à dénoncer un manque de concurrence au niveau des Etats membres dans les Télécom au sens large. Et, là encore, le bât blesse.
Dave Keating, on Gulf Stream Blues, discusses the latest proposals from the European Commission, including the (shocking) charges for data roaming, in 'EU sets goal to abolish roaming charges by 2015' (6 July 2011). He includes concrete examples of market distortion.
In the smartphone era, Ben Rooney comments on the data roaming proposals from Neelie Kroes on the Wall Street Journal TechEurope blog: EU Roaming Data Caps Could Help Mobile Industry (7 July 2011).
Digital Single Market
I wonder if the high costs for business users and consumers can be slashed without one borderless European market, one set of regulations and one regulator.
The other part of the equation is the growth potential for Europe.
Let us return to the Monti report about breathing new life into the internal market:
Mario Monti: A new strategy for the single market – at the service of Europe's economy and society (9 May 2010)
Section 2.3. (from page 44) 'Shaping Europe's digital single market' confronted ”the fragmentation of online markets, ill-adapted intellectual property legislation, the lack of trust and interoperability, the lack of high-speed transmission infrastructure and the lack of digital skills”.
Monti pointed out the huge potential gains and noted that the Commission had recognised the opportunities of digital Europe in its Europe 2020 strategy (EU2020).
According to Monti:
The online single market must become the main driver of a European digital agenda and of Europe's transformation into a digital economy.
In order to create a seamless regulatory space for telecommunications services and infrastructures a more coherent framework is required which includes: strengthening the regulatory oversight at European level, the introduction of a pan-European licensing system and the management and allocation of radiofrequencies at European level. The Commission should launch a comprehensive review of the telecommunications sector with a view to presenting the proposals required for creating an integrated European-wide market for electronic communications.
In related areas, Monti proposed the creation of a pan-European online retail market (e-commerce) and a single market for online digital content.
His key recommendations are found on page 46.
For some early reactions to the Monti report (in general), you can read the blog post 'EU Single Market from Monti report to real reform?' (27 June 2010).
Are promising noises going to turn into creative action?
P.S. What's cooking in Europe? Multilingual Bloggingportal.eu now aggregates the new posts from 819 euroblogs.