Will this EU high court decision remove a lot of the need for an intl. SIM? -
European court upholds EU's cap on mobile calls abroad
(AFP) – 11 hours ago
LUXEMBOURG — The EU's highest court on Tuesday upheld the European Commission's decision to impose price limits for cross-border mobile phone calls in the 27-nation bloc.
The EU Commission won agreement in 2007 to set price caps for such 'roaming' call charges for Europeans using their mobile phones outside of their home country.
The European Court of Justice in Luxembourg decided that the EU rules were "justified... to protect the proper functioning of the internal market."
The decision was agreed with a time limit, and is due to expire in 2012.
Four major phone operators -- Vodaphone, Telefonica O2, T-Mobile and Orange -- have been contesting the rule changes, hoping at least to prevent its extension.
According to the phone companies, the commission's decision violates the principle of subsidiarity, whereby some decisions are taken purely at national level.
The operators argue that market forces should be left to determine a fair price for using a mobile phone abroad.
Vodafone has also mentioned the possibility that the receivers of such mobile roaming calls might have to pick up the tab.
The European Court rejected the companies' complaints, deciding that "the ceilings for retail charges must be considered to be appropriate for the purpose of protecting consumers against high levels of charges."
In the absence of effective action on prices at the national level, the court ruled that an EU approach had been required.
EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding welcome the court's decision
"This judgement shoes the advantages of a common market for our citizens," she said.
Make use of T-M's UMA/wifi free calling from any place in the world with access to wifi. Wife uses HTC Android that has a form of UMA wifi calling. I use BB 9700, which is fully UMA capable.
U.S. T-Mobile unlimited minutes (incoming and outgoing), 2GB data each line, unlimited SMS for 2 lines - about $140/mo. for both lines line. (In U.S. no surcharge for calling a cell.)