Assessment of the cost of providing wholesale roaming and termination services in all EU/EEA countries

Project executed on behalf of The European Commission

Project Objective

In the second half of 2017, the Roaming Like at Home (RLAH) framework entered in force in the 31 countries comprising the European Economic Area (EEA) at the time. This framework enables EEA citizens to use their domestic mobile services in other EEA countries without any surcharges – subject to a reasonable usage policy. Considering the relationship between domestic and roaming providers resulting from this retail regulatory remedy, the EC defined a set of maximum wholesale rates that operators can charge one another for the provision of roaming services. One of the main inputs in the definition of these wholesale rates is a bottom-up LRIC model, which by 2018 was due to be updated so as to allow the calculation of maximum allowed charges for the 2022-2025 period.

In addition, and in the context of its Digital Single Market strategy, the EC determined that it was time to unify wholesale mobile termination rates in the EC, as a further tool aimed to enable an intra-EU calls policy.

Against this background, the overall objective of the project was to estimate the efficiently incurred costs, by mobile network operators in each EU/EEA country, of providing wholesale roaming services, namely: outgoing calls, incoming calls, outgoing SMS, incoming SMS and data as well as wholesale termination services.

Figure 1: Countries involved in the project

Project Description

The project involved the following, among other, activities:

  • Development of mobile network costing models (BULRIC) for the definition of homogenous roaming and termination rates in all of the 31 European Union/European Economic Area countries.
  • Data gathering process for +50 information items, involving +100 operators/regulators, including the review and validation of gathered information taking international references and internal benchmarks as a base.
  • Workshops and a public consultation process with all of the stakeholders involved in the process (gathering and responding to +2.000 comments in two separate consultation processes).
Figure 2: Presentation of the results of the project

Key Takeaways

As a result of this project, the EC received a cost model designed to estimate mobile network operators’ efficiently incurred costs for the provision of mobile services in each EU/EEA country. The results of this model were critical in the update of the caps for wholesale roaming, as well as in the determination of the so-called euro-rate for wholesale mobile termination. The results of the project can be found here.