Late last week Belgian MVNO Voo received special derogation from the EU to cap daily Roam like Home use to limit their financial risk.
Today we hear that Three Ireland has abandoned its plans to change domestic tariffs in an attempt to apply additional fair use policies and limitations on roaming customers.
So what is the impact of these two stories in the broader roam like home context?
For consumers it can only add to confusion. There are already some fairly convoluted and difficult to interpret rules around fair use policies that operators can leverage if a consumer has an “all you can eat” data plan.
Consumers will need to be ever more vigilant on checking the small print as I am sure more operators and MVNOs will seek ways to mitigate their exposure to increased use and zero revenue.
For MVNOs it probably offers a glimmer of hope. Many are deeply concerned about the risks posed by consumers running up large roaming wholesale bills with no related roaming revenue. MVNOs are most exposed as they cannot benefit from bilateral roaming agreements as the network operators can.
Operators will have been watching Three Ireland to see if its approach worked, had it been successful its interpretation of the regulations other operators would have definitely followed its lead. Now the operators will be reviewing their options and following a wait and see strategy. Waiting to understand what will really happen to consumers roaming use when the premium pricing constraints disappear.
And then there is the possible impact of Brexit to consider!
The one thing I am confident about is that there will be more chapters to this story, whether it is mass presentations to the EU from MVNOs requesting the same latitude as Voo, or a huge collective sigh of relief if the worst fears of over use are not realised. We are going to see a lot more about Roam like Home this summer.
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