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"Mr President, Commissioner Kroes, Mr President of the Council, my good friend Nicolai Wammen, honoured colleague Ms Niebler: it appears to me that you are very happy and satisfied today. Well, you should be; we should all be. However, I think it is safe to say that we Liberals do not like price regulations, but for roaming this has proved necessary. Looking back at the history, we began to regulate prices due to a cartel-like situation, where a complete lack of competition in roaming services meant that operators could set their price levels as they pleased. It is not liberal when the market does not work and the consumers have no choice. So introducing price ceilings has been a necessary tool to try to bring costs down. However, despite some progress, prices continue to be significantly higher than domestic mobile prices. The reason is quite simple: the market still does not work. The price caps might have pushed prices down, but it has not increased the competition. The average mobile roaming prices are pretty much identical to the regulated price caps. That is why the Liberal Group demanded more competition from the beginning, and that has also been our main priority in the negotiations. It is not sustainable to undertake a revision every two or three years, so we need to break down the barriers between our national telecommunication markets to create market pressure to lower the prices. We believe that the new roaming deal is a step in that direction: the combination of allowing access to independent operators on the big companies’ networks and allowing for the separate sale of roaming services will give enough choice to consumers to simply dismiss those operators who demand ludicrous prices. Another crucial element that we fought hard for is the local break-out, allowing mobile users to access the Internet locally on a visited network – just like accessing a wi-fi hot spot. This is a new technology which can persuade mobile operators to realise that, unless they lower their prices, they will lose business. But there is crucial implementation work to be done now to ensure that especially the structural solutions work. We will be following this process closely from Parliament, and hopefully we will not see each other here again in four years’ time, as the market will be doing its job and providing competitive prices for all consumers."@en1

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