EU to curtail roaming charges

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GOOD news for future holidaymakers – roaming charges in the European Union should be a thing of the past by the summer of 2017.
The changes are the result of negotiations lasting more than three years between member states, the European Parliament and the European Commission, looking to establish new rules for mobile phone roaming fees and open internet access. The agreement, which was reached early Tuesday morning (June 30) after a final negotiation session of more than 12 hours, still has to be confirmed by other member states.
The agreement would see an end to roaming surcharges in the EU by June 15, 2017. Users can expect to make phone calls, send texts and access data plans in any of the 28 EU states without incurring additional roaming fees. The agreement does come with safeguards to prevent abuses. For instance, opening a mobile phone plan in one country and then permanently relocating would fall outside the intended use of periodic travel.
Mobile phone users can expect to start seeing savings as early as 2016, when roaming fees will be reduced to a maximum surcharge of €0.05 per minute for calls, €0.02 for SMSs and €0.05 per megabyte of data.
The agreement also aims to ensure internet neutrality, affording all EU citizens access to desired online content and services without discrimination or interference from internet providers. This step is especially important for smaller start-up businesses trying to compete with larger, well-established companies.
According to the European Commission, the agreement will ensure that “the freedom of European citizens to access or distribute internet content” is not contingent upon the country where they’re located, thus establishing a “Digital Single Market” governed by unified telecom regulations. As a result of the agreement, there will be no more paid prioritisation of web traffic and blocking or throttling of online content, applications and services by internet providers.

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