Last week the European Parliament's Committee on Industry, Research and Energy voted on some key digital reforms.
A point to take note of was this;
"A broad majority of the committee members backed plans to ban “roaming” charges within the EU as of 15 December 2015. However, to protect telecoms companies against "anomalous or abusive usage of retail roaming services", MEPs ask the European Commission to lay down guidelines for exceptional cases in which companies would be allowed to apply charges. These charges would, however, have to be below the caps laid down in current roaming rules."
This ruling is potentially a game changer for digital products relating to the travel industry and creates huge opportunities for startups.
In 2016 we can with reasonable certainty predict a world where
- Almost every traveller will have a smart phone with them
- Leisure travellers will continue to use their phone whilst on holiday but...
- Batteries on phones will last longer
- People will not turn off location based services to save battery life or limit data usage
- Data coverage (3G and in some places 4G plus more wifi networks) will continue to improve
In simple terms, all the friction that currently prevents travel apps from wider adoption are being gradually removed.
This creates big opportunities for startups. It will spark the disruption of existing business models and revenue streams. Smart startups would do well to consider the implications of this change right now.
Paying 15 Euros a night for wifi at your hotel? Waiting to get back to the hotel room to go online because it's too expensive to browse, share or discover online? Only checking your email when you get back after a trip? All of these things are history.
Consumer behaviour will change. It always does.
Old products and services will die out. They always do.
New products and services will emerge. They always do.
Thank you MEPs - please keep up the good work!
EU votes to protect net neutrality, end roaming charges, (wired.co.uk)
European Parliament press release on the topic, (www.europarl.europa.eu)