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Vodafone, three others, lose roaming fees challenge

Vodafone, three others, lose roaming fees challenge

Luxembourg: Europe’s top court dismissed on 8 June, a challenge by Vodafone, Telefonica’s O2, and two other companies against an EU law aimed at slashing up to 70% of mobile roaming prices for travellers.

The roaming regulation, enacted in 2007, was considered a significant victory for EU lawmakers. The European Commission had said it wanted to end “bill shock" for holidaymakers coming home to huge mobile phone charges for calls made abroad.

Vodafone, the world’s second-largest mobile operator by sales, O2, Deutsche Telekom’s T-Mobile, and France Telecom’s Orange, launched their challenge against the regulation in the British High Court in 2007.

The British court subsequently asked the EU Court of Justice (ECJ) whether the roaming caps had a proper legal basis.

“The Community had the right to impose caps on the prices charged by mobile telephone operators for roaming calls in the interest of the internal market," the ECJ ruled, upholding an opinion by a court adviser last October.

It said maximum retail charges could be appropriate and necessary to protect consumers against high levels of charges.

The European Commission had said the average retail charges for a roaming call prior to the adoption of the regulation was more than five times the actual cost of providing the wholesale service.

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