BRUSSELS, September 10, 2013 (AFP) – The EU presents a radical shake-up of the telecoms sector Wednesday, aiming to enforce a single telecoms market and remove unpopular mobile phone roaming charges it claims are unjustified. Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso will unveil the plans to the European Parliament in his last annual ‘State of the Union’ address before elections in May for a new executive and legislature.
EU Digital Agenda Commissioner Nellie Kroes has insisted for months that it is essential the EU act now or risk losing out on the economic benefits that a fully liberalised telecoms sector could offer in a single market of 500 million people.
Last month, a Kroes report showed that the cost of making mobile phone calls in the EU was like a lottery, with huge discrepancies across the 28 member states.
A call in Italy cost 6.9 euro cents to place, rising to 8.8 cents in the EU’s biggest country, Germany, then 9.7 cents in Britain while France charged an average 12.7 cents and Spain 13.3 cents.
The average cost per minute for national mobile calls in 2011 varied from 1.9 euro cents (2.5 US cents) in Lithuania to 14.7 cents in The Netherlands.
“As these numbers clearly show, the 28 nationa