MEPs in Brussels have today approved new rules that will see significant cuts to mobile roaming charges.
The reduced costs will apply from this July.
From then on, people who travel abroad within Europe will be charged reduced costs for making and receiving mobile phone calls and text messages and for accessing and downloading data on their mobile devices.
The latest round of cuts are the latest step towards a European Commission goal of reducing the gap between domestic and “foreign” call rates to virtually nothing by 2015.
As well as further reducing the cost of making calls from abroad and receiving calls from home, today’s decision cuts the cost of “data roaming” when holidaymakers want to download information from the internet.
The cuts involve reducing the cost of making a mobile call from another EU country from about 37c a minute to 29c, while the cost of sending a text drops to just 9c. Overall, roaming costs have fallen by up to 75% since the campaign began in 2007, said the commission.
Europe’s “Digital Agenda” Commissioner Neelie Kroes said: “By putting price caps on data we have created a roaming market for the smart phone generation. More than that, we have ended the rip-offs familiar to anyone who has used a mobile phone while travelling abroad.
“I am pleased that year after year the European Union is putting money back into the pockets of citizens.”
Compulsory maximum roaming rates were first imposed on mobile network operators five years ago to tackle what the commission called the “roaming rip-off”. The operators were said to be making profits of more than 200% for mobile calls made in another EU country, and 300% or 400% for calls received.
Under the new rules, applicable from July, consumers travelling in another EU country than their own will pay no more than:
:: 29 cents per minute to make a call
:: 8 cents to receive a call
:: 9 cents to send a text message
:: 70 cents per megabyte to download data or browse the internet whilst travelling abroad, charged per kilobyte used.