BEREC adopts wholesale roaming guidelines

By:
Jason McGee-Abe
Published on:

EU telecom regulator Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) has adopted new wholesale roaming guidelines for national regulators

The European Parliament approved the European Union’s regulation on wholesale roaming caps in April, clearing the way for so-called “roam like home” across all 28 member states from June 2017.

The guidelines concern the wholesale roaming access obligations for mobile network operators and the rights for access seekers on the application of Article 3 of Regulation 531/2012.

“In the document BEREC provides guidance to the NRAs, which are required to take the utmost account of it in resolving any disputes or taking any enforcement action concerning Article 3,” a BEREC statement said. “According to the mentioned Article, mobile network operators must meet all reasonable requests for wholesale roaming access, comprising of direct wholesale roaming access and wholesale roaming resale access.”

The new guidelines replaces those from 2012 (BoR (12) 107), and the revision has included the changes of the amended roaming regulation.

“According to Article 3 (1) Roaming Regulation, mobile network operators (MNOs) shall meet all reasonable requests for wholesale roaming access, comprising of direct wholesale roaming access and wholesale roaming resale access,” added the statement from the regulator.

“Direct access means that the retail provider contracts directly with a foreign EEA visited network for the purpose of allowing roaming customers to access the roaming services of the retail provider. It is worth noting that “direct” access is not necessarily physical. The concept also includes the possibility of a direct charging agreement between retailer and visited network operator, in conjunction with physical access negotiated with a host MNO. Resale access means that the retail provider bases its retail service on the wholesale service provided by an MNO usually, but not necessarily, in the end user’s home country.”

Since July 2012, the roaming access agreements have fallen within the scope of Article 3 and its later amendments and request for other variants of direct or resale access must be met, provided only that they are reasonable, irrespective of whether the access seeker is an MNO, MVNO or reseller without systems.

The news comes after the BEREC 31st plenary meeting took place last week: 

In an interview earlier this year with Global Telecoms Business, Sébastien Soriano, chair of BEREC for 2017, had said: “We understand that roaming is some kind of totem about what Europe can deliver to people. It is a political choice. But on the other hand we have to avoid an inconsistent implementation of that. What we ask of the commission is that they be a little bit clearer about the limits that operators can define. Because if operators can do that, in some countries it will be 20 days, or 80 days, or 100 days. Where is Europe? “It may be good to pass the hot potato on to local regulators, but with some limits, because otherwise the political issues are bound to reappear if it is not harmonised. That is the point we are making.” GTB