South Asia is a tad short of two billion people, I keep reminding people. That is bigger than Africa. But we are not highly connected. I am sure there is more intra-East Africa travel than within S Asia. Europe, is smaller than Africa even if we include the population of Russia within it. There has to be a lot more intra-European travel than within E Africa and S Asia. Therefore, the issue of roaming fees has higher salience in Europe. Before Australia and New Zealand, Europe acted to regulate roaming prices. Now it seems to want to emulate E Africa and do away with them altogether.
But during the past week, with European Parliament elections less than a year away and time winding down to make big changes to the telecommunications sector during this legislative period, Ms. Kroes showed that there were limits to her inclination for compromise.
In a bluntly worded speech Thursday to a key committee in Parliament, she surprised lawmakers by urging them to ban mobile roaming fees outright before elections next May.
The fees are a scourge for border-crossing Europeans and make up about 5 percent of a typical operator’s annual revenue. Ms. Kroes’s proposal was cheered by lawmakers, well aware that the roaming caps first enacted in 2007 remain one of the most popular recent achievements of the European Parliament, whose members often tend to labor in the shadows of more prominent peers in national legislatures.