EU sets out plans to end mobile roaming charges

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The European Commission has proposed banning incoming call charges within the EU from July 2014

Incoming call charges while travelling in the EU will be banned from July 2014, under the European Commission’s “most ambitious” plan for telecoms market reform in 26 years.

The proposals, announced by the body yesterday (September 11), mean from July next year operators will have to choose between offering customers phone plans that apply across the European Union – so-called ‘roam like at home’ plans – and allowing them to choose a different operator, who offers cheaper rates, while roaming.

The plans build on the commission’s 2012 ‘roaming regulation’ which says operators have to cut wholesale data roaming prices by 67 per cent by July 2014.

It said that once adopted, the changes “will reduce consumer charges, simplify red tape faced by companies, and bring a range of new rights for both users and service providers, so that Europe can once again be a global digital leader.”

European Commission vice president Neelie Kroes said: “We need to push roaming premiums out of the single market, not just reduce them.

“First new step is to ban incoming call charges from 2014.

“Second new step is to offer companies a cheaper way to deliver EU-wide “Roam Like At Home” plans. If they do this from 2014, they enjoy lighter European regulation, and the consumer avoids all roaming premiums.

“But if your operator does not offer ‘Roam Like At Home’ – you can take matters into your own hands to avoid roaming charges. When you travel you can simply choose another provider who will give you better rates using same SIM card, same bill.

“One way or the other, customers will be able to escape these high charges.”

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