Mar 052010

Roaming has recently caused quite a bit of headlines due to EU intervention – the EU commission used its power to topple over free-market prices on roaming (info for US readers: the EU has powers which significantly exceed those of the federal government).

While I am not against this in any way, I think that it will not solve the problem. The solution will IMHO come from another side – traditional, former governmental carriers.

If you look at Austria, you see our former governmental carrier is in a terrible mess. Outdated Ericsson transmitters consume insane amounts of electrical power, and over 4000 employees who can’t be fired make operations unaffordable. Small and agile carriers like Hutchison have fun f##king them over here and over again…

But: A1 also has some strengths. For example, a law required by the carrier was passed by the government within 7 days – Hutchison was lobbying for the same law for ages. Furthermore, A1 is a member of a large global alliance similar to the Star Alliance in airlining.

Hutchison has offered free roaming in its networks for ages – but as it has but 7 countries covered, the offering is of limited value. A1′s alliance, on the other hand…you get the idea…

Thus, I see the solution coming from somewhere else. If legacy carriers are pressured enough in their home market, they will look offshore in an attempt to find value.

For A1, offering “global roaming” is a question of an email or two (they already do it for governments and large entities). This would then lead to closer cooperation between smaller carriers (see Airberlin and Hainan)…

What do you think?

P.S. Orange has already started the trend by giving its customers complimentary free minutes to call phones all over Europe…

Related posts:

  1. Hutchison Austria on Roaming
  2. European Union: mandatory roaming spending caps
  3. EU lowers roaming fees further
  4. EU to slash European roaming rates
  5. Telefonica: 2 € = 25MB, EU-wide

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