The European Parliament yesterday voted overwhelmingly in favour of new regulations to dramatically cut the cost of using a mobile phone abroad. Under new EU regulations, proposed by the European Commission on 12 July 2006 and broadly supported by the 27 EU member states last week, mobile roaming charges within the EU will come down by as much as 70%. The new rules are expected to enter in force in time for the traditional European summer vacation season.
From July, network operators will be allowed one month to offer the price cap to customers, a month to apply the new rate once the customer responds, and a further month to automatically activate capped rates for customers who have still not responded. The maximum charge, excluding VAT, for regulated roaming calls will be capped at EUR0.49 per minute for outgoing calls and EUR0.24 for calls received.
Commenting on the decision, EU Telecoms Commissioner Viviane Reding said: ‘Today is a good day for consumers and business travellers in the EU … In a record time of only ten months, a political agreement could be reached on the EU Roaming Regulation, thanks to the impressive support of the European Parliament and the negotiation skills of the German Presidency. This means that already from this summer, mobile phone customers will start benefiting from substantially reduced roaming charges when travelling from one EU country to another. Europe’s internal market will finally become truly borderless, even for mobile phone bills.’