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Europe to make roaming charges illegal in 2014

If Neelie Kroes gets her wish
Fri Sep 06 2013, 12:02
Mobile roaming charges can be very expensive

THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION (EC) is reportedly about to take the bold step of making roaming charges illegal in Europe.

The move, detailed in a leaked draft of legislation obtained by The Guardian, could see EC VP Neelie Kroes, who recently described roaming charges as "cash cows", get her wish by putting an end to unexpected mobile roaming fees across Europe.

The draft document details plans that could force networks to offer flat rates for texts, minutes and data across all countries in the European Union, which could finally put an end to hefty phone bills received from unexpected roaming charges abroad by July 2014.

The draft legislation states, "When parties to collective roaming agreements offer to all their customers by default roaming tariffs at the level of domestic tariffs, the obligation of domestic providers to enable their customers to access voice, SMS and data roaming services of any alternative roaming provider should not apply."

The document continues by saying that the EC is looking to "guarantee common high levels of consumer protection across the union, including measures to gradually end mobile roaming surcharges."

This leaked legislation comes after mobile networks, including O2, Orange and Vodafone, opposed the EC's original plans to scrap roaming fees, claiming that the unexpected charges are a good source of revenue. We must get our tiny violins out for Orange, which has said that banning roaming charges would cost it £5.9bn.

Three, however, doesn't seem to mind too much, having recently dropped roaming charges in seven countries including Sweden, Austria and Hong Kong. µ


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