Connected Research

Union policy research in the 21st century

Telecoms ministers approve cheaper roaming

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At yesterday’s meeting of the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council, EU ministers gave formal approval to the new EU rules on mobile roaming which were proposed by the European Commission last September and approved by the European Parliament in April.

The new rules, which will apply from 1 July, will cap the cost of text messages sent while abroad at €0.11 (£0.096), compared to a current average cost of €0.28; cap the cost of making a call at €0.43, and receiving one at €0.19, both with further reductions from 1 July in 2010 and 2011; and cap the cost data calls at €1 per megabyte, compared to a current average of €1.68. Furthermore, consumers will be given the right to cut off calls once a bill limit of €50 has been reached, with measures to be put in place to achieve this by next March, while mobile operators must now charge on a per second basis after the first 30 seconds of a call made while abroad (and immediately for received calls).

The purpose of the Roaming Regulation, which has direct effect in EU member states without the need for secondary legislation, is to prevent ‘bill shocks’ for consumers returning home from trips abroad within the EU, as well as cutting the cost of mobile calling, a long-standing aim of Viviane Reding, the EU’s telecoms commissioner. Roaming bills are expected to fall by 60% as a result of the moves.

The Regulation will be formally signed on 18 June and published in the EU’s Official Journal a few days later.

Some of the mobile operators have launched summer pricing plans which pre-empt the Regulation; others have evidently still to make their move.

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Written by Calvin

09/06/2009 at 1:47 pm

Posted in Telecoms regulation

Tagged with , ,

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