As mobile network operators prepare for the EU's abolishment of mobile roaming fees beginning June 15, Elisa and Tele2 are seeking approval from the Technical Regulatory Authority (TJA) to offer different prices for domestic and EU use.
Beginning June 15, all MNOs in the EU must offer their clients the opportunity to sign up for new, roaming fee-free phone plans. Telia introduced its new phone plans last week, while Elisa and Tele2 will be introducing theirs within the next couple of weeks, after they have submitted their applications to the TJA to be allowed to offer different pricing for the domestic market and EU use.
As 80 percent of Estonians do not often travel abroad and thus would not benefit from the new roaming charge-free plans, the MNOs are seeking to employ the sustainability mechanism, which would allow them to make exceptions for clients on the domestic market, as current prices in Estonia are cheaper than the EU average.
"We are planning on seeking from the TJA the opportunity to employ the sustainability mechanism as we see that the "roam like home" principle would mean a decrease in mobile data usage volumes and increased prices for our clients in Estonia," explained Elisa public relations manager Marika Raiski. "Employing the sustainability mechanism would provide Elisa with the opportunity to develop separate service solutions for using roaming services in the EU and thus preserve the logic and attractiveness of existing domestic services in Estonia.
Tele2 Commercial Product Director Katrin Aron declined to say whether their phone plans would become cheaper or more expensive beginning June 15. It has taken time to publish their new plans as up until the last minute, a number of details of the relevant regulation remained which Tele2 first wanted to thoroughly clarify for themselves. She did refer to the loss of roaming fees as a positive step, however, which would make the lives of their traveling clients easier, as they would no longer have to worry about expensive roaming charges.
"The plan is to announce specific plan changes before June 15," Aron promised, noting that while they could not currently comment on whether their phone plans would become cheaper or more expensive following the EU-wide change, the company's principle is to continue offering the most inexpensive solutions.
According to ERR's information, both Tele2 and Elisa already have the sought approval in principle of the TJA to allow for a distinction in pricing. Telia has not applied for such a distinction.
Editor: Aili Vahtla