MP: Switzerland should abolish roaming charges in Europe

The Local
The Local - [email protected] • 27 Feb, 2017 Updated Mon 27 Feb 2017 10:04 CEST
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From June 15th the European Union is to abolish mobile phone roaming charges across the bloc, meaning any European citizen can use their phone in another EU member state and pay the same as they would at home.

Since Switzerland isn’t in the EU, the new agreement won’t apply to the alpine country, leaving customers of Swiss mobile phone companies left out. 
 
Currently, Swiss customers who use their mobile phone abroad can face high charges if they don’t have a contract that includes roaming. For example, a Sunrise customer using their phone in France would pay 1.10 francs per minute for a local call, 80 centimes to receive a call, 50 centimes for a text message and 1 franc per megabyte of data.
 
By contrast, roaming tariffs have significantly reduced in Europe in recent years, ahead of their eventual abolition this June. 
 
Now one Swiss MP wants bring Switzerland in line with the EU, reported 20 Minuten on Monday. 
 
Elisabeth Schneider-Schneiter feels the EU agreement will see Swiss mobile users discriminated against, said the paper, and therefore wants to “intensify the pressure” on the Swiss government to discuss the issue this spring.
 
While fixed tariffs currently apply between EU member states, they do not apply between the EU and Switzerland, meaning a German mobile phone company could charge a Swiss mobile provider more than an Austrian one for use of their network by customers abroad.
 
This is used by Swiss companies as justification for high roaming rates, but the argument holds little sway with Schneider-Schneiter.
 
“If the EU can stop roaming then it must be possible for Switzerland,” she said.
 
Speaking to the paper, a spokesman for online comparison site Comparis.ch said roaming charges were a lucrative business for Swiss companies. 
 
“That’s why they have little interest in negotiating low prices with European suppliers,” he said.

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