Mobile Operators Scramble To Meet EU Data Cap Deadline

Viviane Reding, The European Telecom Commissioner, is mulling plans to reduce the cost of sending and receiving texts and data files when roaming in the European union and reiterated the deadline of July 1st 2008, only two weeks away, for mobile operators to clean up their acts.

Commenting on views she expressed last Friday in front of 27 European Telecoms ministers, the GSM association highlighted the fact that the cost of data roaming across Europe had dropped by a quarter in the past six month - although by any standards, they are still prohibitive.

In addition, she is also looking to "coordinate" the use of analogue spectrum that will be set free by the switchover to Digital TV (DVB or Freeview over here) as well as discuss the changes to the GSM standard, mobile satellite services (and one can bet GPS's 3.4 bn Euros rival, Galileo will be a hot topic)

Reding will have to deal with increasingly difficult economic conditions which could slow down any financial endeavours from member states and commercial partners as well as growing unease from the ranks of mobile operators.

The EU has already managed to cap roamed voice calls and with SMS and Data charges in the crosshairs, the likes of T-Mobile and Vodafone could see their profits drop if Reding's plans are approved.

The Mobile data market in Europe was worth £5.5 billion last year, and is set to reach nearly £8 billion if growth rates are maintained.