EU comm charges to receive cap, BEREC posts guidelines

(source: Unsplash/Tony Stoddard)

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Communication charges in the European Union will receive a cap as of 15 May, which essentially means roaming charges will disappear, the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) recently confirmed according to a press statement issued by Malta Communications Authority (MCA). BEREC also posted guidelines to assist authorities in the transition.

Starting as of 15 May 2019, “any retail price, excluding value-added tax (VAT), charged to consumers for regulated intra-EU communications shall not exceed €0.19 per minute for calls and €0.06 per SMS message,” the MCA reports. The new rules on retail price caps for intra-EU communications — fixed and mobile calls and SMS — are introduced by the amended EU Regulation 2015/2120.

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The regulation does not restrict operators to apply per second billing. However, as the price caps are expressed per minute, it is considered that charging intervals cannot exceed 60 seconds, according to the MCA press statement.

The regulation applies to all EU member states including the outermost regions, which are part of the EU single market. For calls originating in Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein the regulation would be applicable as soon as the European Economic Area (EEA) agreement incorporates the terms.

Providers in addition to the regulated tariff may offer alternative charges covering non-EEA — i.e. third countries including intra-EU communications where the prices of intra-EU connections may exceed the caps, according to the MCA.

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Ensuring consistent application of the regulation, BEREC published guidelines, laying down criteria for National Regulatory Authorities (NRAs) to take into account. The instructions include general provisions, as well as specific rules where BEREC defines procedure and parameters to assess the sustainability of these provisions. The regulation covers only consumption based intra-EU communications services offered to consumers.

See the official video by BEREC below, explaining what the changes mean in practice.