From Monday, the EU’s roaming regulation will lower the price caps for data downloads by 36%, making it cheaper to use maps, watch videos, check emails, and update social networks while travelling across the bloc.
Data roaming will now be up to 91% cheaper in 2013 compared to 2007. During this period, the volume of the data roaming market has grown 630%.
The cost of using your mobile phone in other EU countries has been steadily falling. The EU has achieved retail price reductions across calls, text messaging, and data of over 80% since 2007.
Croatia joins the EU on the day the roaming caps come into force. Tourists to the Balkan country will enjoy large scale savings on roaming, as the cost for data decreases almost 15-fold. Sending a text or making a call elsewhere in the EU will be 10 times cheaper.
The new price caps are:
- Downloading data or browsing the internet — 45c/MB (charged per kilobyte used) and Vat (36% reduction compared to 2012);
- Making calls — 24c/minute and Vat (17% reduction on 2012);
- Receiving a call — 7c/minute and Vat (12.5% reduction);
- Sending a text message — 8c and Vat (11% reduction compared to 2012).
Operators are free to offer cheaper rates, and some have already begun removing roaming premiums altogether for calls and texts, or offering a roaming-free area region across one section of Europe or another.
Speaking about the new charges, European Commission vice president Neelie Kroes said the changes to roaming charges would allow people to keep more money in their pockets. “The EU has to be relevant to people’s lives,” she said. “The latest price cuts put more money in your pocket for summer, and are a critical step towards getting rid of these premiums once and for all. This is good for both consumers and companies, because it takes fear out of the market, and it grows the market.”