Global menu

Our global pages


TMT Legal Update - BEREC publishes guidance on the separate sale of roaming services under the Roaming Regulations

    • Technology, Media and Telecoms - Telecoms


    Précis – The Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) has recently published guidance for the industry on the application of the requirement on domestic providers to provide for the separate sale of roaming services from 1 July 2014 (the Guidelines).

    What? Article 4 of Regulation No. 531/2012 on roaming on public communications networks within the EU (Roaming Regulation), amongst other provisions, provides for the separate sale of retail roaming services in the EU. Article 4 requires that domestic providers (DP) enable their customers to access regulated voice, SMS and data roaming services provided by alternative roaming providers (ARPs). It also prohibits DPs and roaming providers from preventing customers from accessing regulated data roaming services provided directly on a visited network by ARPs. The Guidelines compliment the Roaming Regulations and existing guidance issued by BEREC on to date on its application.

    So what? As required under the Roaming Regulations the European Commission published Regulation No. 1203/2012 on the separate sale of regulated roaming services within the EU (the Implementing Act) on 14 December 2012. The Implementing Act sets out detailed technical rules on how: regulated roaming services are to be provided as a bundle; local data roaming services are to be provided on a visited network; and the information to be provided to customers on the separate sale of regulated roaming services when they commence on 1 July 2014. The Implementing Act was designed to ensure the consistent and simultaneous implementation of regulated retail roaming services across the European Union. Both the Roaming Regulations and the Implementing Act envisaged that BEREC would publish guidance on the technical elements of roaming that would enable the separate sale of roaming services and not prevent access to data roaming services provided directly on a visited network.

    Whilst the Guidance is not legally binding, National Regulatory Authorities (NRAs) are required to take the utmost account of it in resolving any disputes or when taking enforcement action concerning Articles 4 and 5 of the Roaming Regulation. The Guidance sets out 46 different guidelines which are separated out into: (i) general guidelines; (ii) guidelines for local data roaming services (including general guidelines, obligations for donor roaming partners and the responsibilities of ARPs); and (iii) guidelines for Single-IMSI (including general guidelines and specific obligations for domestic providers applying from 1 July 2014). BEREC recognises throughout the Guidance the importance of the experiences gained through the implementation of the Roaming Regulations and the potential impact that future changes in regulation may have on roaming. Due to the complexities in this area BEREC has positioned the Guidance as a “living document” that will be updated in the future. It will now be the job of each NRA to analyse the issues related to the application of the Guidance (co-operating with BEREC and the other NRAs) in order to apply these rules in their national markets.

    In producing the Guidelines, BEREC took note of the “Liason Statement on Terminal and Device behaviour to support manual network selection and editing of APN” (the Statement) from the Steering Committee (Co-operation Platform for implementation of Roaming Regulation (III)). The Steering Committee is comprised of mobile operators, trade associations and other interested parties. The Statement highlights the importance of end users being able to choose manually through their terminal, smartphone or device a separate roaming service from the user’s preferred mobile network operator.

    The publication of the Guidance completes BEREC’s guidance on the application and implementation of the Roaming Regulations.

    For more information contact

    < Go back

    Print Friendly and PDF
    Subscribe to e-briefings