26 Jun 15
Montenegro Court Blocks Deal to Cut Roaming Charges
An agreement on reducing roaming charges between Serbia, Bosnia, Montenegro and Macedonia could fail after a Montenegrin court called it ‘unacceptable’ for the country.
A regional deal designed to slash pricey mobile roaming costs is under threat after the Montenegrin Administrative Court revoked the decision to cut roaming prices in Montenegro, following complaints by two major mobile operators, Telekom and Telenor.
Following the EU’s example, Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina agreed to establish their own regulatory market and to cut sky-high roaming prices from June 30.
However, the court deemed the new regulation “unacceptable for Montenegro” because the EU directive on mobile prices was binding only on members of the European Union. The regional agreement also was never officially ratified in Montenegro, the court said.
Zoran Sekulic, director of Montenegrin Agency for Electronic Communications, criticized the court’s ruling, noting that the regulatory bodies in the other three states had already agreed to reduce roaming charges.
Montenegrins will use those benefits when they travel to Serbia, Macedonia and Bosnia, which will not now be the case when citizens of these countries come to Montenegro, he explained.
“That may be qualified as an anti-competitive action and the Agency will try to find the solution for such a legal absurdity,” Sekulic told the daily newspaper Pobjeda.
Regulators in the four Balkan countries agreed to reduce mobile phone roaming charges after two years of talks. Kosovo, Albania and Turkey have been invited to join the zone.
An agreement signed in September 2014 in the Montenegrin resort of Budva stipulated roaming charges would fall for all types of mobile services – voice calls, text messaging and internet use.
The cost of mobile phone conversations would fall by around 70 per cent and the price of mobile internet by to 90 per cent. Regulators also agreed to continue reducing the fees in phases over the next three years.
Source: Balkan Insight (Montenegro)