The EU’s new roaming rules, governing the cost of making calls while abroad and roaming, take effect today (1 July).
The European Commission already imposed caps on how much operators can charge for making and receiving calls two years ago. The changeswill drive the cost of making and receiving calls down even further.
As well as the cost of using voice services coming down, operators are being forced to notify customers when their bill reaches €40 for data usage and cut off customers at €50 unless they agree to further charges.
Last month, operators learned that a legal challenge to the measures being implemented by the European Commission had failed.
The reaction was mixed, with 3 welcoming the changes. A spokesman said: ‘We are delighted that the European Court of Justice has ruled that the price cap on EU roaming charges should stay in place.’
However, Orange said: ‘We have not yet been formally notified of this decision but are disappointed with the opinion expressed today by the European Court of Justice and feel that this does not reflect the best interests of the European market.’
Consumer campaign groups hailed the changes as a success.Mobile data specialist Acision also welcomed the changes.
Acision global product marketing manager for charging, David Knox, said: 'The new legislation puts users in control of their mobile roaming costs for the first time, by enabling them to set and control their own spend limits. This, combined with the pre-existing measure of real-time per second billing, should provide consumers with the necessary tools to effectively monitor their mobile spend and avoid bill shock.
'However, while these measures are undoubtedly a step in the right direction, it is important to bear in mind that they only apply within the EU. Attention must now be turned to addressing how to regulate roaming charges when outside the EU zone: events such as the World Cup, attended by millions of people worldwide, highlight the need for consumer clarity on the precise costs of mobile phone usage, regardless of where in the world the user is.'