On October 27th, the European Parliament voted in favor of a proposal on net neutrality. As part of this proposal, it was also decided that roaming costs within EU territory will be abolished, starting June 1, 2017. This does not concern all roaming, but “roaming within the range of normal usage”. It isn’t yet quite clear how normal usage is defined, and we have to wait until the end of this year to find out.

Additionally, based on an annual survey, Telecompaper found that an increasing number of (Dutch) consumers turn off mobile data usage while on vacation abroad. So while internet on mobile phone is getting more and more important, consumers are less likely to roam data! As it is unlikely that these people don’t WANT to use the internet on vacation, a huge potential is being left untapped here.

Telecom marketers: We hosted a webinar on predefined packages v.s. letting customers pick and choose features. Click here for the recording and slides!

This leaves telecom providers with two choices. Either try to make as much revenue on roaming until July 2017, or treat this forced route to free roaming in the EU as a change. Because based on our experience and multiple studies, we found that adding free roaming of a part of bundles (minutes and/or data) can have a huge positive effect on sales shares, and even on average revenue per user if done right.

An extra benefit of reducing or removing roaming costs in the EU is that this will have a positive effect on the perception of a brand as honest and transparent. And these perceptions have a big impact on the perceived brand value.

So while the new EU proposal poses a threat to easy revenue for telecom providers, it is also a possible impulse for progress and a new game to play. The time has come for telecom providers to ask themselves where they stand, and where they want to stand on June 2017. Because if you don’t act soon, you just might be too late.