4/1/2009 2:55:00 PM
European regulators: ‘Sending a text from Europe won’t be more than 10p’
European regulators have reached an agreement that will see mobile data prices slashed by July 2009.
The agreement, which is due to be approved by the European Parliament’s industry committee in April, caps the cost of text messaging at 10p throughout Europe.
Other data costs, such as those charged to surf the web or send emails, will be regulated at operator level. The rate will be a maximum of e1 (92p) per megabyte from July 2009, and will fall to 50 cents (46p) from July 2011.
Mobile owners will also be able to agree a spending cap with operators, and will be warned when they have used 80% of their chosen limit.
It is a major win for the EU commissioner, Viviane Reding, who has been pushing for a reduction in the data roaming charges.
Speaking in February 2008, she said: ‘What I want to achieve is very simple — sending a text message or downloading other data via a mobile phone in another EU country should not be substantially more expensive for a consumer than when they are at home.’
Writing a guest blog exclusively for Mobile at the start of 2008, Reding (pictured) warned operators that they would either have to voluntarily cut the cost of sending texts or emails while in Europe, or the regulators would be forced to intervene.
The commissioner pointed out that costs per megabyte could be as high as £5.22 and as low as 23p, adding that ‘there really is room for manoeuvre’.
Reding said: ‘We would like consumers to feel at ease wherever they are — whether they are abroad for tourism or for business.’
The European market for mobile data services was worth £5.5bn in July 2008, according to industry body the GSM Association.