Germany’s Federal Network Agency is threatening to fine Telefonica Deutschland for charging customers too much for roaming within the EU, according to a news report. Under new EU regulations, announced at the end of 2015, as of 1 May roaming fees must not exceed 5 cents per minute. Telefonica, however, is still charging many customers 20 cents a minute, which is has said it will reduce to 14.95 cents per minute for contract customers starting on 1 July. A spokesperson for the Federal Network Agency said that it would formally notify the operator that it must conform to the EU directive or face a fine.
The negotiations to end roaming surcharges within the EU by mid-2017 were complex and lengthy, but the European Commission has definitively ruled that it will happen and has mandated incremental reductions to accomplish the goal, and member states are charged with enforcing the rules. The German regulator’s threat against Telefonica is a clear indicator that the anti-roaming legislation is being taken seriously and that no prices exceeding the limits, even if applied only to certain customers on a legacy basis, will be tolerated. The writing is on the wall for roaming fees in Europe, and operators will have to adjust.