Mobile telcos lose roaming challenge

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The Independent Online

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) yesterday upheld laws forcing mobile operators to cut roaming charges in the face of a legal challenge from Vodafone, O2, T-Mobile and Orange. The regulations, first passed by the European Commission in 2007, cap call charges at 49 euro cents (41p) per minute for making a call and 24 euro cents per minute for receiving one while travelling abroad, with further reductions due in 2011.

The four mobile operators challenged the ruling on the ground that the imposition of the cap exceeded European Commission powers. But the ECJ concluded that the rules are a legitimate use of provisions designed to protect the single market. "The roaming regulation is valid," the ECJ said. "The community had the right to impose caps on the prices charged by mobile operators for roaming calls in the interest of the internal market."