MEMBERS OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT (MEPs) have voted to scrap roaming charges by June 2017, putting an end to shock mobile bills and boosting business across the continent.
Tuesday's decision, which was backed by UK prime minister David Cameron earlier this year, means that from 15 June 2017 EU citizens will pay the same price to make calls, send text messages and use data as they do at home wherever they are in Europe.
The death of roaming charges is still almost two years away, but politicians have also voted in significant cuts from April 2016 when operators will be able to charge a maximum of €0.05 per minute for calls made, €0.02 per SMS sent and €0.05 per megabyte of data.
European Commission vice president Andrus Ansip, 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 EU 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 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."
The EC said that the decision to can roaming charges is also good news for companies doing business in Europe.
"The measure will create a better environment for businesses and for innovation. The new rules will notably promote the cross-border use of connected devices and services (e.g. connected cars) and boost the evolution of mobile apps on which one million Europeans now work," the EC said.
"Roaming charges currently teach users to switch off their mobile phone when abroad. If they are not afraid of their bills anymore, they will use their devices more regularly when they are travelling. This means more opportunities for online businesses and startups to provide services to consumers when they travel in the EU."
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