O2 Offer Free Roaming

Following pressure on all networks from the European Commission O2 are the first to offer free roaming, regardless of which network the call is received on. ‘My Europe’ is a set of low cost roaming tariffs from O2 and movistar for European customers.

The new pricing plan from Telefónica, through O2 in the UK and movistar in Spain, will remove charges when receiving calls from abroad.
O2 UK users of the ‘high roamer’ service pay a monthly fee of £5 to make calls at a reduced rate of 25 pence per minute, a 70% discount over standard rates, as well as receive incoming calls for free whilst travelling in Spain. Small and medium-sized companies can benefit from a discounted monthly fee of £2.50 per month if they take out a 12-month option.

Spain was chosen by O2 UK as the launch market for this new service since more of its customers travel there frequently on business, or on holiday, than any other country. In the first half of next year, O2 will expand the service to more than 35 countries across Europe as part of its successful range of Bolt-on packages. Call charges will be the same as the high roamer service covering Spain.

Earlier this month the European Commission stated it is looking to introduce new legislation in the EU to reduce mobile phone roaming charges. The new rules will cap roaming wholesale costs between networks and limit the mark-up passed to the consumer at 30%.

‘We feel that regulatory pressure is necessary to bring down roaming prices,’ said Martin Selmayr, spokesman for EU information society commissioner Viviane Reding.

Viviane Reding has said she is determined to slash ‘excessive’ roaming charges, which are believed to generate annual revenues of 7 bln stg for European mobile operators.

Peter Erskine, chairman and chief executive officer of O2, said: "The high roamer proposition was rated as the most popular concept when tested on customers, with many indicating that they currently left their phones switched off when travelling in order to avoid the cost of receiving a call. By starting to scrap the charge levied by all operators in the past for receiving calls when abroad, we hope to begin removing that barrier."

The legislative proposals are currently being reviewed by the European Parliament.

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