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Data roaming charges within EU to be scrapped

Kit Klarenberg
Written By:
Kit Klarenberg

Members of the European parliament have finally agreed to a complete ban on roaming charges throughout the European Union (EU) from June 2017.

The new legislation, which follows years of negotiation, means from 15 June 2017, citizens of and visitors to the EU will pay no more than they do at home for calls, texts and mobile data, irrespective of which member state they are in.

Until the change is implemented, charges will gradually decrease. From 30 April 2016, roaming surcharges cannot exceed €0.05 per minute for outgoing voice calls, €0.02 for text messages and €0.05 per megabyte of mobile internet use.

“Today’s agreement shows the European Union can deliver tangible results to improve the daily life of Europeans. Roaming charges will soon be old memories,” said Commissioner Günther H. Oettinger.

“This is not only about money; this is about bringing down barriers in the Digital Single Market. Today’s achievement is a first step towards a Telecoms Single Market,” said Commission Vice-President Andrus Ansip.

The move was welcomed by Ernest Doku, telecoms expert at uSwitch.com, who said the news could be a “major win” for consumers, who have been especially vulnerable to roaming charges due to the rise of smartphones, and the associated increase in mobile data consumption.

“Today all the toing and froing is finally over, putting the stops on bill shock for those travelling within the EU, which affects more than 9 million UK mobile users a year according to our research,” he said.

“The major concern is if and how mobile operators will recover their costs, because we all know there’s no such thing as a free lunch. If this regulation change isn’t properly managed, higher mobile phone bills for all may just prove to be the sting in the tail, with infrequent travellers drawing the short straw.

“If price rises do follow, consumers can show their disapproval by moving to another network.”