OECD: more effective competition and better regulation needed to cut high mobile data roaming costs

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Regulators and policy makers should boost competition among mobile telephone operators to cut the high prices being charged for international data roaming, according to a new OECD report. Analysis of pricing plans at 68 operators in the 34 OECD countries points to a strong case for new consumer protection and empowerment measures. “Current pricing levels indicate that there is, in general terms, either insufficient retail or wholesale competition,” says the report. The OECD compared a variety of data roaming plans based on the amount of data users could send or receive when abroad. For 1Mb of data, for example, the equivalent of sending 10 photos, the average price by country across the OECD is USD 9.48 (based on purchasing power parity). Canadians travelling abroad pay the most (USD 24.61), followed by Americans (USD 22.06) and Mexicans (USD 19.85). Greeks abroad pay the least (USD 4.17), followed by people from Iceland (USD 4.42) and Luxembourg (USD 4.46). The wide difference in prices, according to the report, can be explained by Greek mobile phone companies being charged less by wholesale operators than Canadian operators and passing those savings onto customers. Or it could reflect greater competition in the Greek retail roaming market than in Canada. Here to read more.

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