Author: Kevin Donoghue, CEO - Telesoft
Wireless service charges in Europe continue to produce bill shock despite recent mandates by the European Union (EU) to cut roaming charges. flagged in 2014 EU regulator Berec had flagged high roaming charges as a competitive issue back in 2014. He warned that without intervention in the wholesale market, the goal of being able to ‘roam like home’ would not be achieved. Now a group of smaller mobile operators and MVNOs is demanding that these mandates be accelerated.
These smaller players rely on larger carriers’ networks for service. This leads to roaming charges with markups from the larger carriers, that they then have to pass down to their subscribers. High roaming charges in Europe were unsustainable, but enterprises should be prepared for some unintended consequences from these upcoming adjustments.
First, it is important to recognize there will be winners and losers, and carriers that lose revenue will need to replace it. In this new environment, enterprises will find a greater need for Telecom Expense Management (TEM) and Wireless Expense Management (WEM) programs. Managers need systems to flag billing errors, track spending changes, and monitor other new trends.
Second, telecom managers should inform their sourcing teams about the declining roaming charges in the European market. More detailed analysis of plans is necessary to ensure that negotiators obtain better deals on corporate plans for international mobile programs
A third unintended consequence will be a shift among those providers that rely on roaming charges. If they are unable to replace the lost revenue, they will need to reduce capital expenditures for network improvements and other new technology. It will be important to evaluate if incumbents are becoming less reliable, and new providers will need to be evaluated to sustain service levels.
The regulatory changes and cuts in roaming charges promise a better future for international travelers. However, changes in regulatory, tax and intergovernmental agreements may produce new challenges in the short-term for telecom managers. During this transition, enterprises must exercise caution and implement proactive programs to avoid having international travelers return with a bad case of bill shock.Tags: international TEM, roaming