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21 February 2012 | Angeline Albert
Buyers are forced to pay higher prices for the use of mobile data by business travellers abroad because international roaming markets lack competition.
The Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is urging governments to take action on increasing competition to help bring down the price of mobile data roaming.
It said prices of up to USD $25 (£15.80) are being paid by travellers for downloading 1MB of data while abroad. An OECD statement posted on its website today said: “The mobile phone sector is considered generally competitive in domestic markets. But for users travelling abroad, OECD analysis says roaming prices are excessive compared to the costs incurred by operators.”
It wants transparent information on roaming prices to help businesses get fairer prices and has recommended a financial limit for data roaming services be put in place. It added that purchasing organisations should be informed about the cost of roaming services and the availability of substitutes.
The OECD said governments should consider price regulation for roaming services. Wholesale roaming services could be regulated by means of bilateral or multilateral agreements with mutually established price caps, it added.