Automotive > Infotainment & Telematics Blog

EU Vote to End Roaming is a Telematics Stimulus Package

by Roger Lanctot | Apr 04, 2014

The European Union has voted to end wireless roaming a move that is guaranteed to deliver a severe jolt of revenue growth for wireless carriers and ease the minds of car companies implementing telematics.  The plan, subject to review and set to take effect by Christmas 2015, will fundamentally change consumers’ relationships to their wireless carriers in a positive manner.

(According to the EU:  Member States will review the regulation and the Commission expects final agreement by the end of 2014.  The “Connected Continent” telecoms Regulation was proposed by the Commission in September 2013.  It aims to … end roaming charges and guarantee an open Internet by banning blocking and degrading of content, coordinating spectrum licensing for wireless broadband, giving Internet and broadband customers more transparency in their contracts, and making it easier for customers to switch providers.)

Once the decision, if upheld, takes effect it will cause consumers to no longer treat their phones like kryptonite when traveling across or near borders.  Usage of mobile phones and mobile Internet will blossom with the passing of the fear factor.

The decision will also wipe away many of the negative connotations associated with carriers.  One need look no further than the words of Neelie Kroes, European Commission vice president, in announcing the move:

“This vote is the EU delivering for citizens.  This is taking the opportunity to get rid of barriers to make life easier and less expensive.  Nearly all of us depend on wireless and Internet connections as part of our daily lives.  We should know what we are buying.  We should not be ripped off.  And we should have the opportunity to change our mind.  Companies should have the chance to serve all of us.  And this regulation makes it easier for them to do that.  It is win-win.  This vote puts us one step away from liberating one billion devices and every European.  With your support we are going to win this battle.”

These are certainly election year sentiments from the EU (with a tinge of Cold War imagery), but Kroes is correct to decry the consumer perception/experience of being “ripped off,” in her words.  And the “change our mind” comment suggests more changes in EU wireless regulations to come, perhaps along the lines of The Netherlands’ “blank SIM” legislation (CNET story:

Just as iTunes expanded the market for audio content, rather than undermining it, the liberation of carriers and consumers from roaming charges will present a massive stimulus to the use of wireless networks – including telematics.  Tourists and natives alike will welcome and benefit from the change which will also stimulate the wider economy and likely give rise to new business opportunities.  Who knows, maybe the turnout for the upcoming EU election will get a boost as well.

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