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EU mobile roaming charge ban brought forward
|ONE OF THE MOST POPULAR MEASURES TAKEN by the EU in recent years was the reduction of roaming charges on mobile telephones. These extra charges, payable when a subscriber is in a different country from where the handset is registered, which were believed to be worth €7 billion a year to the telecommunication companies, have been gradually diminishing since the European Commission started taking an interest and setting maximum tariffs. Now Telecomms Commissioner Neelie Kroes proposes to end them for good at the earliest opportunity. Her announcement comes at the same time as a survey is published showing that half of the 28,000 respondents stop using their mobiles for data when they cross an EU border and one third give up using their ‘phones all together. Ms. Kroes said that mobile networks were waking up to the fact that charging more for cross-border calls made little||
||business sense when most consumers simply turn off their phones to avoid the costs. However she added ‘It's not just a fight between holiday makers and telco companies. Millions of businesses face extra costs because of roaming and companies, like app makers, lose revenues too’. If a current joint proposal by the Commission and the European parliament is passed the charges will be abolished from 15 December 2015. This will especially delight people living in border areas such as the German-speaking minority in southern Denmark whose newspaper reported ‘the scrapping of roaming fees will trigger cries of joy. No more welcome calls when they drive over the border or getting stuck in expensive calls on our neighbour's network’. The measure will be voted on by the European Parliament’s Industry Committee in March and must then be ratified by the full parliament.|
‘phoning from the beach at no extra charge!
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|OiRA home page:||http://www.oiraproject.eu/about|
|Sizing the EU app economy:||http://eurapp.eu/sites/default/files/Sizing%20the%20EU%20App%20Economy.pdf|
‘OiRA’ online H & S projects multiply
SINCE WE REPORTED LAST YEAR (see issue 61) on the Online interactive Risk Assessment (OiRA) for the leather industry the number of completed and planned projects has moved on apace. OiRA is a web platform that makes it easy to build risk assessment tools in any language and for any employment sector. There are now 15 completed including a Belgian and Portuguese hairdressing tool, a Spanish one for driving schools, two that apply to the catering sector in Greece and France and a private security tool which works across the EU. This last example was developed by the sectoral social partners at EU level but national authorities are also part of the OiRA community. The even better news is that about 50 more projects are under development. These include Live performance, Cleaning, Maritime transport and Hairdressing at EU level and Office work for Slovenia plus over 30 different sectors in Bulgaria.
According to the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) OiRA is specifically aimed at small and micro-businesses with limited resources so that they can benefit ‘By reducing absences and increasing staff retention’.
|MANY SMARTPHONE AND TABLET users are familiar with web applications, progressively shortened to ‘web apps’ and now ‘apps’. Perhaps they look up the weather forecast on the Met Office app, or play a game such as ‘Angry Birds’, but how many are aware of the growing economic importance of this sector. Already there are 1.8 million people employed in the EU generating revenues of €17.5 billion, and these figures are expected to grow to 5 million and €63 billion by 2018. The European Commission has published a report which confirms that this is one area where Europe is keeping up with the U.S.A. although all the major platforms (Google’s Android, Apple’s iOS, Facebook etc.), on which the apps run, are American. According to Commissioner Neelie Kroes the obstacles to development include lack of ICT skills training, there were one million vacancies unfilled last year, absence of continued support despite initial failure, ‘Angry Birds’ was the 52nd game written by Finnish company Rovio, and the usual fragmentation of markets and networks among the 28 Member States. As there were 94.4 billion apps downloaded globally last year the prize for resolving these problems is huge.||
App sales in 2013 (EU total includes