Sky-High Roaming Charges to Go in Balkans


News
01 Sep 14

Sky-High Roaming Charges to Go in Balkans

Regulatory agencies in the Balkans have finally agreed to phase out mobile phone roaming charges, which are much higher than those in Western Europe.

Dusica Tomovic
BIRN

Podgorica

Montenegro, Serbia, Albania, Macedonia and Turkey have agreed to sign an agreement to scrap sky-high roaming charges in the region on September 29, Montenegro’s Agency for Electronic Communications has confirmed.

The telecomunications ministers of the Balkan countries will sign the agreement in the Montenegrin coastal town of Budva during Infofest, which is dedicated to advancements in the world of informatics, organized by the Montenegrin Ministry of Telecomunications.

Members of the region’s regulatory agencies will meet in Macedonia over the coming days to discuss the modalities of the process to establish a “roaming free” zone in the Balkans.

Regional telecommunications regulators believe they can set up a Balkan cost-free roaming zone by January 1, 2015. Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina will also be part of the zone.

Under the plan, roaming charges will be scrapped for all types of mobile services – voice, messaging and Internet.

“Free roaming would not start till early next year, because some signatories need to adapt their laws to such an agreement. Then we can establish reciprocity between the countries to turn off roaming and to implement EU directives,” the Montenegrin daily Vijesti quoted Zoran Sekulovic, head of Montenegro’s Agency for Electronic Communications, as saying.

The cost of roaming in the Balkans is up to six times higher than the cost in Western Europe, recent studies show.

Under pressure from the European Commission, mobile telephone operators in the EU have had to unify and lower roaming call prices.

Source: Balkan Insight (Montenegro)