I am now in Washington DC. A familiar city, but not familiar enough. So many times I feel like using Google maps to orient myself. But then I am reminded of previous bill shocks and desist. I want to use a service; I am willing to pay for it, even with a reasonable premium. But I do not, because of the insane and illogical roaming price regime. I need data services more when I travel, when I have greater information needs, but the pricing goes counter to that. Who is served by this? Not me. Are the mobile operators well served?
Just last week I was in Ha Noi, making the case for a more reasonable roaming regime at the Asia Pacific Telecommunity’s 11th Policy and Regulatory Forum. This was seen a bit of a highlight because the GSM Association had sent its Head of External Affairs Isabelle Mauro to make the case against intervention, after having been caught by surprise at the 10th PRF in Yogyakarta when my presentation against the rapacity of the roaming regime had to be countered from the floor.
In my talk, I said that this would most probably be the last talk I give on roaming at a PRF unless I see progress on reforming roaming. It’s been three years since Europe acted. It has been two years since the Bali Action Plan mandated action to reduce roaming in the Asia Pacific. In my view this is plenty of time to see some action. But all that we can see is the bilateral reduction of roaming rates by Malaysia and Singapore.
Asia has led the way on affordable voice telephony. There is no reason it should not do so on data roaming.