From July, costs of calls and data roaming in other EU countries will fall further into line with domestic charges
Mobile phone roaming charges will fall again from July after a European parliament vote.
The cuts are the latest step towards a European commission goal of reducing the gap between domestic and foreign call rates to virtually nothing by 2015.
As well as further reducing the cost of making calls from abroad and receiving calls from home, there will be a cut to the price of “data roaming”, when holidaymakers want to download information from the internet.
The cost of making a mobile call from another EU country will fall from about 30p a minute to 24p, while the cost of sending a text drops to 7p. Overall, roaming costs have fallen by up to 75% since the campaign began in 2007, said the commission.
Europe’s digital agenda commissioner, Neelie Kroes, said: “By putting price caps on data we have created a roaming market for the smart phone generation. More than that, we have ended the rip-offs familiar to anyone who has used a mobile phone while travelling abroad.”
Mary Honeyball, Labour MEP for London, said: “These charges are unjustifiable and we finally have been able to intervene and set up sensible fees which don’t put ordinary hard-working people out of pocket.
“Under the deal, a 50p cap protects mobile users from accidentally running up unexpected bills if they forget to turn off their data roaming setting.”
Peter Skinner, Labour MEP for South East England, added: “If roaming prices have not come all the way down to domestic levels by 2016, then the European commission will be obliged to propose additional legislation to ensure that roaming charges are identical to domestic prices.”
Maximum rates were first imposed on mobile network operators in 2007 to tackle what the commission called the “roaming rip-off”. Operators were said to be making profits of more than 200% for mobile calls made in another EU country, and up to 400% for calls received.
Under the new rules, applicable from July, consumers travelling in another EU country will pay no more than:
• 29 euro cents (24p) a minute to make a call.
• 8 cents (7p) a minute to receive a call.
• 9 cents (8p) to send a text message.
• 70 cents a megabyte (58p) to download data or browse the internet, charged by the kilobyte used.