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EU moves to slash mobile roaming charges

Vote is expected to approve charge caps
Thu May 10 2012, 11:51

THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION VP in charge of telecommunications policy has called on the Brussels parliament to back moves today that will slash mobile roaming costs across member states by forcing operators to cap charges.

Neelie Kroes, VP of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda told a European Parliament plenary debate on roaming that she is "delighted" that the European Parliament and Council have agreed on a new roaming regulation on the basis of the Commission's proposal.

She added that she is "looking forward" to the Parliament formally backing the proposals today.

"Let me remind you what's at stake. These days, mobiles are everywhere. People expect to use their phones wherever they go. Especially across internal borders that are supposed to have disappeared. And better smartphones, tablets and online content mean a boom in mobile data," Kroes said.

"In that context, high roaming charges are an irritant for citizens, and an obstacle to the Single Market. People are fed up with nasty surprises when they open their bill. Today we can put an end to them once and for all - for voice, for text, and for data. And show how the EU protects citizens' interests."

As we reported earlier, the legislation will force mobile operators to cap their roaming prices so that roaming consumers will pay no more than 29 cents per minute to make a call, eight cents per minute to receive a call, nine cents to send a text message and 70 cents per Megabyte to download data or browse the internet.

Kroes continued, "People who want to browse abroad shouldn't be held back by a fear of high charges. It's a constraint on citizens, a constraint on businesses, and a constraint on economic growth. This agreement removes that constraint. By capping data charges, and by letting people choose their data roaming provider - perhaps just as easily as they'd choosing a Wifi network."

Under the new European rules, mobile users will also be allowed to pick the roaming provider that's right for their travel needs separately from their domestic provider. µ


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