The cost of using mobile phones while abroad is set to fall, after the European Commission (EC) voted overwhelmingly in favour of slashing the charges.
The new proposals will come into force from 1 July and include a cap on data roaming for the first time. During today's debate in Brussels, MEP Angelika Niebler said: 'Using mobile devices abroad remains expensive. During the summer holidays, our citizens will be able to take advantage of more favourable tariffs. Parliament has succeeded in its call for cheaper roaming prices for consumers, and in particular for data roaming. In addition, from July 2014, consumers will be able to choose an operator other than their national operator for roaming services. The new rules will also help to open up the market to new entrants and so increase competition.'
Under the changes, a downloaded megabyte will cost no more than 70 cents from July 2012, 45 cents in July 2013 and 20 cents in July 2014. There is currently no price ceiling for data services. The cost of making a call abroad will fall from its current rate of 35 cents per minute to 29 cents from July 2012, 24 cents from July 2013 and 19 cents from July 2014. The cost of messaging will fall from 11 cents to six cents by July 2014.
People travelling outside of the European Union (EU) will also get a text message warning them if they receive more than €50 per month. Europeans will also be able to buy their roaming services from a different provider when travelling abroad. MVNOs will also be able to access other operator's networks at wholesale prices in order to provide roaming services.
A Three spokesperson said: ‘Three has campaigned for these proposed changes as they enable competition and will deliver a better deal for consumers when travelling in Europe.’
Editor: Graeme Neill