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Govt defends mobile roaming charges policy

26 October 2007
Consumers are seeing the benefit of government action on reducing the cost of using mobile phones abroad, government competitiveness minister Stephen Timms has claimed.

Speaking to Channel 4 news, he explained that the costs of international roaming have fallen by up to 60 per cent, describing the reduction as "very successful".

His comments come after a civil servant was reported to have liaised with mobile phone companies in order to protect their interests amid a European commission debate on price cuts.

Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act revealed messages such as "UK still not happy bunnies" and "fight goes on" that the civil servant communicated to Vodafone and BT respectively.

Mr Timms has rejected accusations that the government conspired with mobile phone operators to keep costs high.

A balance had to be obtained between the process of reducing mobile phone roaming charges and the allowance for mobile operators to introduce new services, he told Channel 4.

"That was a balance. We struck that balance, I think, very successfully," Mr Timms stated.

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