BRUSSELS?Mobile phone roaming charges are still too high in the European Union and efforts should be made to make them almost disappear, the European Commission said on Wednesday.
The EU executive has set a ceiling for roaming charges when mobile phone users make phone calls, send text messages or go on the Internet outside their home country in the 27-nation bloc.
But the commission said operators generally set prices close to the maximum amount and "maintain unjustifiably high margins on roaming services."
The commission launched a two-month public consultation to seek feedback on how to boost competition in roaming services and reach its goal of making the difference between national and roaming charges "approach zero by 2015."
"Huge differences between domestic and roaming charges have no place in a true EU single market," said European digital agenda commissioner Neelie Kroes.
"We need to address the source of current problems, namely a lack of competition, and to find a durable solution. But we are keeping an open mind on exactly what solution would work," Kroes said.
The price for making a call in another EU country was capped in July at 39 euro cents ($0.52) per minute, excluding VAT, while receiving a roaming call costs no more than 15 cents per minute.
The maximum price for sending an SMS is 11 cents while the cap for downloading or uploading data was set at 80 cents per megabyte.
The roaming regulation runs until June 2012 and Brussels must decide next year whether to repeal or extend it, possibly with amendments.