BRUSSELS (Reuters) - EU lawmakers want to scrap mobile phone roaming charges by 2015 and to prevent telecoms network operators from charging companies such as Google and Amazon to provide faster Web services, EU documents show.
The proposals from the European Parliament’s industry committee go far beyond European Telecoms Commissioner Neelie Kroes’s plans to overhaul the EU telecoms industry, which include ending roaming fees by 2016.
The plans come as Europe’s telecoms providers struggle to lift their revenues, down for the fifth consecutive year.
“With effect from 15 December 2015, roaming providers shall not levy any surcharge in comparison to the charges for mobile communications services at domestic level on roaming customers in any member states for any regulated roaming call made or received,” the committee said in a paper seen by Reuters.
It said roaming charges for sending text messages and for using any regulated data roaming services should also be phased out by the same deadline.
The committee also sided with proponents of net neutrality, concerned that telecoms companies might block or slow access to content on the Internet or charge content providers more for delivering their services at faster speeds.
“Where such agreements are concluded with the provider of internet access, that provider should ensure that the enhanced quality service does not cause material detriment to the general quality of internet access,” the EU document said.
Telecoms operators, some of whom might already have such deals, said industry sources, are opposed to the proposed rule.
“The principle that all types of Internet traffic have to be treated equally is at odds with the way in which the Internet works today, as different types of traffic have different requirements and need to be managed efficiently,” Luigi Gambardella, head of the European Telecommunications Network Operators’ Association (ETNO), said.
ETNO, whose members include Orange, Telecom Italia, Deutsche Telekom and Telefonica but not Vodafone, conveyed its criticism jointly with the GSMA, the worldwide mobile operators’ lobbying group, to Kroes and the committee.
The committee will vote on the proposals at 1800 GMT. The proposals would still need the approval of EU lawmakers and 28 EU governments before becoming law.
Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Greg Mahlich