New York Times reports about a new EU plan to place a worldwide cap on data roaming charges for EU citizens. Wether or not this is a good idea remains to be seen… There are still a number of countries that carry quite high roaming charges, which would cause the cap to activate pretty quickly. Not a good customer experience.
I doubt that the EU guidelines would cause non-EU operators to lower their wholesale data rates at all, so the result could be that only the ‘real’ operators (MNO’s, i.e. in the Netherlands KPN, T-Mobile, Vodafone) would be able to force enough buying power to enforce lower wholesale rates or to subsidise the charges toward the customer.
If that becomes reality, would it serve the customer? Would it offer market options and transparency? I don’t think so. In this scenario, smaller providers (i.e. MVNO’s) who are tied tightly to their MNO may not be able to compete in the market. Winners of the game would be the MNO’s with deeper pockets. The market of roaming solutions toward MVNO’s may grow, but most likely this will still only cover base costs of mobile challengers.
What will happen remains to be seen. For now I’m sceptic about this idea, but we will certainly keep a close eye.