Six European mobile phone operators have agreed to slash international wholesale roaming charges in a bid to avert tough regulations from the European Commission, Germany\u2019s T-Mobile said Friday.The move follows similar initiatives by Vodafone Group of the United Kingdom\u00a0and 3 Group, a division of telecom company Hutchison Whampoa.Mobile phone companies are reacting to pressure from the commission, which plans to propose limits on international roaming charges next month.T-Mobile, together with Orange (France), Wind (Italy), Telecom Italia (Italy), Telenor (Norway) and TeliaSonera (Finland), agreed to cut the cost incurred by other operators when their subscribers visit the six operators\u2019 networks. They\u2019ll be reduced to a maximum 45\u00a0euro cents\u00a0in October, then to a maximum 36\u00a0euro cents a year later.\u201cWe need to adjust to the new situation,\u201d said T-Mobile spokesman Klaus Czerwinski, adding, \u201cWe can\u2019t do it in one big jump.\u201dVodafone has made a similar pledge, while 3 Group said earlier this week that international wholesale roaming charges should not exceed 25 euro cents\u00a0per minute.The European Commission welcomed the moves but insisted that a regulation is still necessary. \u201cIt\u2019s a good first step,\u201d said Martin Selmayr, commission spokesman for telecom-related issues. \u201cThe decision by parts of the industry to cut the charges confirms our belief that there is plenty of room for cuts, and that this will not kill off the mobile phone industry in Europe, as some companies have implied,\u201d he said.The commission regulation due in mid-July will not propose specific prices for operators. But it will call on companies to charge the same for international roaming as they do for domestic roaming from one network to another.\u201cWe are not setting prices, but setting a principle,\u201d Selmayr said. \u201cIf companies make a profit margin of 30 percent domestically and 300 percent on international calls, that\u2019s what we want to stamp out.\u201d\u201cThe roaming market requires regulation because normal market pressures don\u2019t appear to work. Operators have not passed on savings from lower costs to consumers as they should in a healthy competitive market,\u201d he said.The proposed regulation will look at profit margins on retail roaming charges as well as wholesale charges that operators charge each other.The companies that have so far committed to lower their international wholesale roaming charges are generally from northern Europe.\u00a0Companies in the south, including Spain\u2019s Telefonica Moviles, have refused to commit since they gain the most from holidaymakers visiting in the summer.02, a division of Telefonica, said Tuesday in some press reports, including an article in The Guardian newspaper, that it decided not to join the six companies\u2019 initiative because it feared being accused by European regulators of belonging to a cartel."Our concern is that this may be seen as price collusion,\u201d 02 told The Guardian.T-Mobile\u2019s Czerwinski dismissed this as a smokescreen. \u201cThat\u2019s ridiculous,\u201d he said. \u201cTelefonica is probably saying that because it is one of the biggest beneficiaries from high wholesale prices, because Spain is such an important tourist destination.\u201dTelefonica was not immediately available to comment.-Paul Meller, IDG News ServiceCheck out our CIO News Alerts and Tech Informer pages for more updated news coverage.