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Mobile-phone roaming rates fell 25% in 2006

Prices for making and receiving international mobile-phone calls in Europe fell by a quarter last year as companies introduced calling packages, according to the GSM Association, a lobby group for more than 700 operators.

The charges, known as roaming fees, fell to an average of 62 euro cents ($0.81) a minute from 83 cents, the association said in a statement today. Data was collected from 28 companies operating in 18 European companies. „A decline of 25% in retail prices during 2006 shows that the market is meeting the demands for lower prices,” Tom Phillips, regulatory affairs officer at the GSM Association, said in the statement.

The European Commission, the executive arm of European Union, has proposed putting price caps on both wholesale and retail roaming fees. The proposal must be approved by European governments and the European Parliament. Companies including Vodafone Group Plc, Telefonica SA and Deutsche Telekom AG's T-Mobile International have complained that the regulation isn't necessary as they're already reducing prices. (Bloomberg)