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The Economic Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu does not support the package for a single market for electronic communications, initiated by the European Commission, because it might lead to an increase in prices; one of the more salient proposals of the package is the levelling of roaming and local call prices.

“The price will not improve for the Estonian consumers and the entry to the market will not improve for providers of communication services. As companies have already made their investments in view of the current conditions, some of which will enter into force next summer, it is difficult for the Economic Affairs Committee to support the package of the European Commission,” said the Chairman of the Committee Kaja Kallas.

The European Commission has planned for the new electronic communication package to enter into force on 1 July. The prices of calls should then be the same, regardless of whether these were domestic or made to another country. The compulsory downward correction of roaming prices would take place from 2016, when communication service providers who did not level the prices must untie their roaming and domestic service prices. The package also abolishes incoming call charges from 2014.

According to Kallas, the Committee supports the objective of strengthening the European Union internal communication market but these particular proposed measures might mean increased prices for the Estonian consumers and a less favourable situation for Estonian businesses. The opinion of the Economic Affairs Committee as forwarded to the European Union Affairs Committee for shaping Estonia’s position is therefore critical of the package.

The Competition Board, Consumer Protection Board, Technical Supervision Board and Estonian Association of Information Technology and Telecommunications have already provided their position, opinion or impact assessment of the package known as Roam like at home in Europe.

According to the Statistical Office, communication service prices fell in September by nearly one tenth compared to September last year, while the general inflation was 2.1 per cent.

The Riigikogu Press Service