Some liaison operators have to overload unnecessary roaming / Article / LSM.LV

Following the changes introduced in the Roaming Regulation last year, some mobile operators have only popularized the tariff plans that include the roaming service. Consumers who do not go abroad have limited information about the possibility of choosing cheaper rates without roaming, which leads to overpaid services for services that they do not need, concluded the Competition Council.

In June last year, the countries of the European Economic Area (EEA) abolished the extra roaming charges previously imposed on consumers for calls, text messages and data transfers if they were not used in a country other than that in which they live and in another EEA country.

The purpose of the new regulation was to reduce costs for consumers through the use of mobile telephone services for roaming.

Shortly before the abolition of this additional levy, Latvian mobile operators publicly announced price increases for tariff plans.

In the light of similar activities, the board has started an investigation to determine whether such an action is not related to an unauthorized agreement.

As regulatory changes have changed, consumer habits have changed and customers are increasingly using mobile services abroad, which is confirmed by both publicly available data and information provided by operators. As a result, the operators justify the change – although consumers no longer have to pay extra for roaming, companies still have relatively high costs for the provision of services to operators in other countries.

The Competition Council (CP) discovered that both the way in which operators model their business strategy scenarios and their used pricing methods were different. If companies decide on price changes separately and without mutual agreement, this is not a violation.

However, the Council received several complaints that citizens were unable to opt for local tariff plans that did not include roaming services.

The Council noted that certain operators promoted the most expensive roaming inclusive tariff plans, making it more difficult to access information on cheaper services.

According to regulators, mobile operators offering tariffs without roaming agreed to change their behavior and make information on local tariffs more readily available.

One of the incentives for effective competition is both consumer choice and the switch options for the most advantageous offers and their active action. However, it is important that consumers have sufficient information about the costs of services, exchange possibilities, etc. Therefore, the KP also encourages consumers to be mobile and to evaluate the offers of all operators to choose the most appropriate tariff plan with or without roaming.

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