EU to scrap mobile roaming charges
29 October 2015 08:18
Mobile roaming charges can leave users with huge bills
Mobile phone users holidaying in other European Union (EU) countries will soon face the same charges as they do in their home nation, it has been confirmed.
The European Parliament has given the go ahead for mobile roaming charges to be abolished from June 15, 2017.
The new rules mean mobile users in the EU will be charged the same to send texts, make phone calls and use data as they are in their own country.
The European Parliament has also ruled that roaming charges should be made cheaper from next spring.
From April 2016, operators will only be allowed to charge an extra three pence per minute - excluding VAT - for calls made from other EU countries.
Users, meanwhile, will only face having to pay an extra penny for each text they send and a maximum of three pence extra for each MB of data that they use.
As well as making the use of mobile devices cheaper for Britons abroad, the move will leave holidaymakers with extra cash to spend on accommodation, food, travel insurance and entertainment while they are away.
The new rules are designed to stop travellers being hit with massive charges after using their mobile phones in other EU countries.
Andrus Ansip, vice-president of the European Commission, says the move is the culmination of lengthy efforts to scrap roaming charges within the EU.
He says the move is not just about giving mobile users a better deal financially, but also about removing obstacles within Europe's Digital Single Market.
Mr Ansip says the decision also represents the first step towards establishing a Telecoms Single Market within the EU.
As well as ending roaming charges, other new rules will also add safeguards to the open internet by ensuring users can access websites of their choice without being unfairly slowed down or blocked.
These rules mean all online use will be treated equally, subject to tough but clear network security exceptions.
And that means consumers will not be blocked from using any services just because they do not pay an extra fee to internet service providers.