EU reaches preliminary decision on roaming charges

16 May 2007

Proposed caps on the cost of using mobile phones outside a user’s home country within the European Union would end after three years, a senior lawmaker said on Tuesday. Representatives from current EU presidency country, Germany, the European Commission and lawmakers from the European Parliament agreed a preliminary deal on mobile roaming price caps earlier in the day. ‘We have decided to have a sunset clause. After three years this arrangement will come to an end,’ Paul Ruebig, a centre-right lawmaker, told a news conference. A compromise was reached which will see roaming fees cut to a maximum EUR0.49 a minute for outgoing and EUR0.24 a minute for incoming calls. An earlier proposal for consumers to have to opt-in in order to benefit from the price caps was rejected. The new proposed directive is set to come into force by mid-July, although it must first go under a vote by the European Parliament later this month, as well as member governments, who will vote in June. The EU originally wanted to cut charges to a maximum EUR0.40 a minute for outgoing calls and EUR0.15 a minute for incoming calls, but met opposition from some member states and operators.