Lower mobile phone roaming charges for expats from end of 2015

by Ray Clancy on April 8, 2014

Expats living and working in Europe often travel and make frequent trips between countries as well as travelling to their home country and can face paying high roaming charges for their mobile phones.

Now that is about to change as the European Parliament has voted to end roaming charges by Christmas 2015, as part of a wider vote in support the Commission’s proposed regulation for a telecoms single market.

mobile roaming

A ‘Connected Continent’ telecoms regulation was proposed by the European Commission in September 2013

Under the wide ranging telecoms reforms, the cost of making a call or downloading internet data in another European Union country will be the same as the country where the mobile phone contract is registered.

The new rules come at a time when users are consuming ever more data on mobiles and tablet devices. As 4G networks offer even faster download speeds, data consumption is expected to rise exponentially.

‘This vote is the European Union delivering for citizens. This is what the EU is all about, getting rid of barriers to make life easier and less expensive,’ said European Commission vice president Neelie Kroes.

‘Nearly all of us depend on mobile and internet connections as part of our daily lives. We should know what we are buying, we should not be ripped off, and we should have the opportunity to change our mind. Companies should have the chance to serve all of us, and this regulation makes it easier for them to do that,’ Kroes explained.

EU Member States will now continue to review the regulation and the Commission expects final agreement of the Regulation by the end of 2014.

‘In 2010 I promised to end roaming charges by the end of 2015, and now we are one step away from achieving that result. Beyond the highly visible barrier of roaming we are now close to removing many other barriers so Europeans can enjoy open, seamless communications wherever they are,’ she added.

The ‘Connected Continent’ telecoms regulation was proposed by the Commission in September 2013. It aims to bring the region much closer to a truly single market for telecoms by ending roaming charges, guaranteeing an open internet for all by banning blocking and degrading of content, 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.

A European Commission survey in February suggested that 94% of Europeans limit their use of the web when travelling in Europe because of the cost of mobile roaming.

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