Sitemap

Why Cutting Western Balkans’ Roaming Prices Is Good For Consumers And Businesses

CCIFS Hosts Annual Event French Week

The tenth anniversary “French Week” under the...

AHK Members Dinner With Ambassador Konrad

German-Serbian Chamber of Commerce-AHK Serbia hosted its...

Regional Conference On Renewable Energy In Western Balkans Held In Belgrade

The regional conference "Investment opportunities in renewable...

Mauna Loa: World’s Largest Active Volcano Erupts In Hawaii

The largest active volcano in the world, the 4,169-meter-high Mauna Loa in Hawaii, erupted after recent earthquakes, the US...

Serbia, The U.S., Spain, Argentina, Thailand Apply To Host EXPO 2027

Deputy Prime Minister of Serbia and Minister of Finance Siniša Mali said in Paris, after the end of the...

German Ambassador Konrad Visits The City Of Pirot

The Ambassador of the SR of Germany in Serbia, Anke Konrad, visited the city of Pirot, where, in addition...

Uzice To Become The Cultural Capital Of Serbia In 2024

The working group for the preparation and implementation of the "Cultural Capital of Serbia" program has chosen the city...

Kosovo, Serbia Reach Deal To End Dangerous Dispute Over Car Plates -EU

Kosovo and Serbia reached a deal on Wednesday to end a nearly two-year dispute over car licence plates in...

CEO of Telekom Srbija Group, a provider of fixed-line, mobile, television and internet communication services to over 11 million subscribers.

The first day of July 2021 saw the end of roaming costs across Western Balkan countries. Citizens in the region can now enjoy traveling without having to either switch off their phones or worry about the costs at the end of the month. Borderless communication is a major step forward in cross-regional cooperation and a significant symbol of progress given our region’s recent history. As CEO of a regional telecoms business with operations in most markets covered, I applaud and welcome this opportunity. It’s good for customers, and it’s good for business as a whole.

The EU set the precedent, having introduced its own roaming framework in 2017. While our friends and colleagues in Croatia and Slovenia were able to benefit from this, it created a barrier for the rest of the Western Balkans where high roaming costs remained an unfortunate reality. It was one of the biggest remaining obstacles to communicating freely across borders in a region that needs to communicate more, not less. Society demands it as we have become increasingly digital-led by the next generation, which expects to be online all the time. And what is good for consumers is also good for companies across the region looking to build their businesses and find new markets.

The benefits it can bring are illustrated by what we’ve seen in the EU. In a survey conducted by Eurobarometer a year after roaming was introduced, 82% of people who traveled to another EU country felt they had benefitted from the new rules. As noted in a joint statement by the vice-president for the digital single market and commissioner for digital economy and society: “Roam like at home is working and is becoming a habit: customers are appreciating it, consumption is up and the demand for mobile services while traveling in the EU is very high. It benefits consumers and operators alike.”

If this is an example of policymakers and regulators coming together to improve the lives of their citizens by delivering something consumers need and want more cheaply, then there is no reason why this should not apply to our own markets here in the Balkans. I’m confident that what we saw elsewhere can be replicated here, but it is dependent upon all mobile operators complying with the new rules and effective enforcement by national regulators.

This milestone in the Western Balkans comes after three years of careful preparation and negotiations. Expectations from the authorities were high, but the expectation of operators and consumers was even higher. At the second World Bank Digital Summit held in Belgrade in 2019, representatives of the economies of the Western Balkans signed an agreement on lowering the prices of roaming services in public mobile communication networks in the Western Balkans region. In this way, the signatories agreed to bring the maximum retail prices of roaming in the Western Balkans region to the price level according to the “home” rule, i.e., according to the rules valid in the European Union, by July 1, 2021, at the latest.

Second Digital Summit of the Western Balkans in Belgrade

In all phases of the initiative for the abolition of roaming in the Western Balkans, my company and others have implemented the decisions and guidelines issued by the competent authorities. And all telecoms companies have had a tangible role in helping deliver cross-border communication at a more cost-effective price. Since the signing of the above-mentioned agreement, telecom operators have started with the phased abolition of roaming fees, which, until July 1, amounted to between 83% and 96% less than before the agreement.

Despite the loss of perceived revenue, roaming can actually be a recipe for future success as traditional telecom and mobile operators increasingly become multi-media providers. As we see continued changes in consumer behavior, so will business models need to continue to adapt to change. As elsewhere in the world, voice will increasingly be replaced by data as the main source of revenue. As data becomes more affordable, telecom companies can increasingly diversify their commercial offer from fixed telephony and mobile to broadband and multi-media content delivery to more people and more places as they invest in new infrastructure and connectivity.

Related

Roaming Free Region with EU Support

Today, the “Roam Like at Home” regime in the Western Balkans enters into force. From 1 July, all roaming costs within the region will...

Regional Roaming Agreement signed today

The Regional Roaming Agreement, which will allow significantly lower rates of roaming in the countries of the Western Balkans starting 1 July, was signed...

The journey doesn’t stop here. Telecoms’ next milestone could be eliminating roaming costs between the Western Balkans and the EU. Nothing has been said yet, but it’s a natural evolution of a region that is increasingly looking to become a part of the European family. The other beneficiaries are, of course, our diaspora who remain a key target for future growth. Telecoms across Western Balkan countries can be the frontrunners in offering new services and products to others, particularly in Austria, Germany and Switzerland. It’s the next step for a region whose telecoms sector continues to grow and mature. The ambition doesn’t stop here as telecoms continue to deliver what customers want at a price they can afford.

Source: Forbes by Vladimir Lucic, Photo: Photo: jeshoots.com/Unsplash

Related Articles

Cocktail Reception Held In Paris On Occasion Of Belgrade’s Candidacy For Expo 2027

Prime Minister Ana Brnabic and wife of the President of the Republic Tamara Vucic hosted a festive cocktail reception tonight in Paris on the...

Serbia, The U.S., Spain, Argentina, Thailand Apply To Host EXPO 2027

Deputy Prime Minister of Serbia and Minister of Finance Siniša Mali said in Paris, after the end of the 171st General Assembly of the...

Uzice To Become The Cultural Capital Of Serbia In 2024

The working group for the preparation and implementation of the "Cultural Capital of Serbia" program has chosen the city of Užice to become the...

Kosovo, Serbia Reach Deal To End Dangerous Dispute Over Car Plates -EU

Kosovo and Serbia reached a deal on Wednesday to end a nearly two-year dispute over car licence plates in northern Kosovo, which the West...

Address By Josep Borell After The Meeting With Vučić And Kurti

EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy Josep Borell addressed the public after a meeting with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Prime Minister...

Ambassador Chen Bo: Chinese Companies Interested In Investing In Serbia’s Food Industry

Agriculture is a pillar of the economy for both Serbia and China, and cooperation in that area is of great importance for bilateral cooperation....

Minister Djedovic: Gas Prices To Increase in 2023 by 11%, Electricity By Less Than 10%

The price of gas in Serbia will increase by 11 per cent from next year, and electricity by less than 10 per cent, Minister...

Novak Djokovic Wins Record-Tying Sixth ATP Finals Crown

Novak Djokovic has done it again. Seven years after his last ATP Finals title, the Serbian won a record-tying sixth by defeating Casper Ruud, 7-5, 6-3...