EU roaming charges for mobiles to be scrapped in 2017

Roaming charges for using a mobile phone while travelling in the EU are to be capped next year and scrapped from mid-2017.

For years, mobile phone customers have returned from holiday only to find they have been hit with hefty bills for using their mobile devices while abroad.

These charges were particularly heavy for those using a lot of data, for example downloading a movie for their child to watch.

There have long been talks about scrapping the charges, but yesterday the European Parliament formally approved the rules.

Currently, data roaming charges are capped within the EU to €0.19 a minute for outgoing calls, €0.05 a minute for incoming calls, €0.06 per text message and €0.20 per megabyte of data downloaded, on top of the normal tariff.

The charges are added by mobile operators for calls, texts and internet browsing when phone users are abroad.

They have led to consumers being charged hundreds or even thousands of euros for using their phone while on holiday.

Roaming charges were — and are — a fairly big earner for operators. Some critics have suggested they will simply start hiking up other call charges to make up for this loss.

Consumers have been advised to keep a close eye on their monthly bills as the 2017 deadline nears.

An interim cap on charges will take effect from April 30 next year, prior to the full ban across the EU.

The interim cap means operators will only be able to charge a small additional amount to domestic prices of up to €0.05 per minute for calls, €0.02 per text message and €0.05 per MB of data.

This will make roaming charges within the EU 75% cheaper during the interim period, according to the European Commission.

Roaming charges will be completely removed by mid- June 2017.

Along with the roadmap for scrapping roaming charges, new net neutrality rules mean users across the EU will be free to access the content of their choice and will no longer be unfairly blocked or slowed down.

This will mean that access to a start-up’s website will not be unfairly slowed down in order to make way for bigger companies, the EC said.


Lifestyle

FOR many of us, health insurance is high on the list of financial products which that we tend to avoid changing out of fear and confusion.Money and Cents: cover all the bases for best health insurance

Anya Taylor-Joy plays the titular Emma in the latest adaptation of Jane Austen’s romantic comedy about the spoilt, meddling matchmaker who means well, says Laura HardingAnya Taylor-Joy: ‘Emma is my little monster’

Setting sail to travel the world as part of your job has a romance all of its own but for marketing manager Máire Cronin and engineer Mark Crowe it led to love.Wedding of the Week: Cruise ship co-workers Máire and Mark sail off into sunset

One of the genres that has seen exponential growth in the podcast world is the sleepcast. Open Spotify on your phone in the evening and a number of offerings are available, writes Eoghan O'SullivanThe Podcast Corner: podcasts that will put you to sleep

More From The Irish Examiner