Legal charges likely to mount as EU plans cuts to roaming charges

Vodafone was reacting to European Commission proposals to put strict limits on how much operators can charge customers for making or receiving international or national calls while in other member states.

Vodafone Group PLC has branded moves by Brussels to regulate the cost of using a mobile phone abroad as illegal and threatened to consider legal action if the plans are not watered down.

"We believe this whole initiative is illegal because the EU treaty protects companies and customers from arbitrary and unjustified regulation," said a Vodafone source.

"The proposals are the most prescriptive imaginable. We think the customer has been forgotten by the Commission. It’s actually about Commission politics and populism," he said.

Vodafone refused to rule out taking the matter to the European Court of First Instance if the proposals have not changed significantly by the time they become law.

Operators are likely to mount a legal challenge to EU plans to force through cuts to their roaming charges.

European Commissioner Viviane Reding is proposing a raft of measures that will reduce the fees consumers pay for international calls inside the EU to around 25-35p per minute.

Strangely enough this will lead to Vodafone’s 7.5 million ‘Passport Plan’ customers actually seeing a rise in roaming charges under the commissioners proposals.