Connect to share and comment

EU makes a deal to end "rip off" roaming charges

The new rules stipulate that phone users will pay no more than 29 cents per minute to make a call while traveling within Europe, in cuts just in time for summer holidaymakers.

cell phone in handEnlarge
Man with a phone in Berlin, Germany. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

The EU, along with member governments, agreed to a deal Wednesday to lower roaming fees that would see users charged less for calls, text messages and data services while traveling abroad.

The new rules stipulate that consumers will pay no more than 29 cents per minute to make a call and 70 cents per megabyte for data while traveling within Europe, in cuts just in time for summer holidays, according to BBC.

"Consumers are fed up with being ripped off," said the EU's commissioner for digital services, Neelie Kroes, according to the Telegraph. "The new roaming deal gives us a long-term structural solution, with lower prices, more choice and a new smart approach for data and internet browsing."

The deal, which still needs approval by the European Parliament in May, would take effect in July.

The price caps have been vehemently opposed by state telecoms across Europe.

For instance, Vodafone, a major European phone company said that it would prefer market competition to the imposition of price caps.

"We welcome the attempt to move away from price cap regulation after 2014," Vodafone said in a statement, according to Reuters. "We have always said that competition, not regulation, will serve customers better."

According to the Guardian, roaming charges were capped by the EU in 2007 and declined 75 percent since then.

The new cuts aim to even the costs between domestic and international charges within the EU in order to create a more competitive marketplace for carriers.

The aim of the EU may be to create a European-wide telecoms market that increases competition within and between countries.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/business-tech/120328/eu-makes-deal-end-rip-roaming-charges