Responding to news that charges have been halved for surfing the internet, or making and receiving calls, whilst roaming in the EU, KPMG’s Sean Kennedy argues that whilst consumers will benefit from lower bills, there is a risk that they may also face mixed service levels, as operators have less money available to upgrade networks across Europe.
A director in KPMG’s UK Telecoms Regulation team, Sean says: “When it comes to totting up the cost of this year’s summer holiday, consumers are likely to welcome a reduction in roaming fees. However, their delight could well turn to frustration in years to come as, with fewer funds available, operators may struggle to improve infrastructure across Europe, meaning the user experience is likely to fluctuate as they cross borders.
“Eventually, the plan is to abolish roaming fees completely. If this does happen and the differentials between national and international rates are removed, there may be little to stop UK customers from switching their existing UK operator to one in another member state offering a cheaper price per minute or megabyte. In this respect the ‘freedom to roam’ may give customers more choice, but it also raises questions about how the industry will cope in an environment where the link between cost and price is broken. It will be crucial that any future regulation is carefully structured to take in to account the economic incentives to invest.”
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Mike Petrook, KPMG Press Office
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KPMG Press office: +44 (0)207 694 8773
Notes to Editors:
The research was conducted during the first two weeks of May 2014 and incorporates the views of 1,035 adults across the UK.
KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership, is a subsidiary of KPMG Europe LLP and operates from 22 offices across the UK with approximately 11,500 partners and staff. The UK firm recorded a turnover of £1.8 billion in the year ended September 2013. KPMG is a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax, and Advisory services. It operates in 155 countries and has 155,000 professionals working in member firms around the world. The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative ("KPMG International"), a Swiss entity. Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such.
This article represents the views of the author only, and does not necessarily represent the views or professional advice of KPMG in the UK.