EU votes to slash roaming charges

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Vote means from July 1 roaming charges will be capped at 24p per minute for calls, 7p per minute for texts and 58p per megabyte for data

Roaming charges within the European Union will fall significantly from July after the region’s parliament voted favour of imposing stringent caps.

After July 1 operators will only be able to charge 29 euro cents (24p) a minute to make a call, 8 cents (7p) a minute to receive a call, 9 cents (8p) to send a SMS message and 70 cents a megabyte (58p) for data usage.

The cuts are part of the EU’s plans to reduce the difference in charges between domestic mobile use and usage by customers visiting other countries within the EU to almost nothing by 2015.

Further cuts are scheduled to come into force over the next two years, including a reduction in the cost per MB for data to 20 cents by 2014.

The EU also plans to allow consumers to pick a separate operator for roaming without changing SIM cards from 2014.

The changes have been welcomed by consumer organisations and MEPs, who have previously accused operators of making huge profits on roaming charges.

EU rapporteur and MEP Angelika Niebler said: “Parliament has succeeded in its call for cheaper roaming prices for consumers, and in particular for data roaming.

“In addition, from July 2014, consumers will be able to choose an operator other than their national operator for roaming services. The new rules will also help to open up the market to new entrants and so increase competition.”

However, operators have complained that regulatory interference on roaming and other areas such as mobile termination rates are hindering their ability to invest.

 

 

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