European Parliament votes to end roaming charges, expand consumer rights

4 Apr 2014

Yesterday the European Parliament voted to ban international roaming charges within the European Union (EU) for voice, SMS or data by Christmas 2015, as part of a wider vote in support of the European Commission’s (EC’s) proposed regulation for a ‘Connected Continent’ (also referred to as the ‘telecoms single market’). EC Vice President Neelie Kroes said: ‘In 2010 I promised to end roaming charges by the end of 2015, and now we are one step away from achieving that result.’ A press release added that EU Member States will now continue to review the regulation and the Commission expects final agreement of the regulation by end of 2014. The Connected Continent telecoms regulation was proposed by the EC in September 2013, and aims to bring the EU closer to a single market for telecoms, by ending roaming charges, guaranteeing an open internet for all by banning the blocking or degrading of content (i.e. introducing the concept of net neutrality into EU law), coordinating spectrum licensing for wireless broadband, giving internet and broadband customers more transparency in their contracts, and making it easier for customers to switch providers.