It looks like the days of bloated roaming fees within Europe are nearly over. Orange, Telecom Italia, Telenor, TeliaSonera, and Wind have joined T-Mobile in an agreement to cap the rates they charge eachother within the European Economic Area – 45 euro cents per minute from October 2006 dropping to 36 euro cents per minute by October 2007. In time, that should result in a savings of nearly 50% for consumers travelling within Europe and from abroad as the proposed cap is extended to operators outside the sub-continent. An independent watchdog group will then monitor fee reductions on the open market and publish an index every six months. And what of Europe's largest carrier, Vodafone? Well, they're apparently sticking to their rather dubious "Vodafone Passport" scheme said to save punters 40% on roaming fees after registering for the service, after a "connection fee" of 75p per call and after April 2007 when the rate cuts would go into effect. Now this isn't the first time the
cabal European operators have agreed to lower roaming tariffs so we'll just have to see how this plays. Just remember dear carriers, the world and Viv is watching.