IN two months from now, consumers will not have to worry about using their mobile phones when travelling across Europe as roaming surcharges will no longer apply.
MEPs removed on Thursday the final hurdle – wholesale price caps – by endorsing an informal deal that defines how much telecoms operators can charge each other for using their networks to carry cross-border “roaming” calls. Wholesale roaming prices indirectly affect consumers’ final bills.
According to the European Parliament (EP), lower caps for data transfers would enable EU consumers to access more data, such as audio-visual content, when travelling from one country to another.
The abolition of retail roaming surcharges, scheduled for June 15, means that consumers will call, text and use mobile data while travelling in another EU country for the same cost as at home. The move, the EP said, could also open up markets for small and virtual telecoms operators.
“This is a great victory for European consumers”, said rapporteur Miapetra Kumpula-Natri. “We can now celebrate the fact that from 15 June on there will be no more roaming fees. Users travelling across Europe will be able to check emails, use maps, upload photos on the social media, phone and text home without extra cost”.
The transitional period for the final reductions in roaming charges for consumers who travel to other EU member states kicked in last April. Up until June 14, providers are not allowed to charge more than the cap price set by the European Commission: €0.19 per minute for outgoing calls, €0.06 per SMS message, and €0.20 per MB for mobile internet. Incoming calls should not be charged more than €0.05 per minute.
The abolition of roaming charges is part of the Commission’s policy, introduced in 2007, to tackle overcharging in roaming prices.
The European Commission said that retail prices for cross-border calls, texts and data have fallen by more than 80 percent since 2007, and for data by up to 91 per cent.