THE EUROPEAN Parliament formally approved rules to have mobile roaming charges cut by next summer and end by mid-2017 within the European Union.
From June 15 2017, the cost to make calls, send texts and use data anywhere within the EU will be exactly the same as in home countries. As of April next year, operators will only charge small additional fees of up to €0.05 (3p) per minute of calls made, €0.02 (1p) per SMS, and €0-05 (3p) per MB data, excluding VAT.
Andrus Ansip, European Commission vice president responsible for the Digital Single Market said, “The voice of Europeans has been heard. Today’s vote is the final result of intense efforts to put an end to roaming charges in the European Union and to safeguard the open internet.”
“As from mid-June 2017, Europeans will pay the same price to use their mobile devices when travelling in the EU as they do at home. And they will already pay less as from April 2016. 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,” he added.
The new rules means consumers will avoid huge phone bills while traveling in Europe.
Commissioner Gunther H Oettinger, in charge of the Digital Economy and Society, said: “Today’s agreement shows that the European Union can deliver tangible results to improve the daily life of Europeans. Roaming charges will be soon old memories and we will get for the first time ever net neutrality rules in EU law. These rules protect the right of every European to access the content of their choice, without interference or discrimination.”
Ian Duncan, Conservative MEP for Scotland, added: “This is a perfect example of where the EU can make a real difference.”