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04 May 20120 Comments by Jon M

Finally! – reasonable EU roaming charges

Have you been surprised with a ridiculous mobile phone bill after returning from a trip to Europe? Do you think that the roaming charges your mobile network forces you to pay our way over the top? Well there is great news from the European Parliament which is expected to approve a new deal on EU roaming rules this May. If everything goes well, last year’s European commission proposal will come into force on 1 July 2012.

The new rules will introduce a price cap for wholesale and retail roaming costs that will be ratcheted down over the coming years. This will ensure that there is a limit on the price you have to pay when roaming abroad in the EU and will massively reduce phone bills for most people travelling in Europe. There will be more competition in the roaming market and the prices will steadily be coming down from the current high prices because of this.

Neelie Kroes, European Commission Vice President for the Digital Agenda, said:

Consumers are fed up with being ripped off by high roaming charges. 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 benefits will be felt in time for the summer break – and by summer 2014, people can shop around for the best deal.

Part of the deal will allow customers to pick and choose which mobile network they want to roam on when they enter a foreign country. This means that there will be more competition between the various providers to offer the lowest rates. Because the European Union has approach this problem from the ground up, the very core of the market will change which results in better prices for everyone. These rules will safeguard low prices for consumers until at least 30 June 2017.

The current price caps with VAT for consumers are €0.35 per minute for outgoing calls and €0.35 per minute or receive calls and send SMS messages. There is currently no cap at all on data roaming and with the rise of smart phones, this is easily most to blame for the ridiculous phone bills some people get after coming back from holiday.

After 1 July 2012, the roaming costs will start to come down significantly. Before VAT, SMS messages will be only €0.09 to send, incoming calls will be only be €0.08 per minute and outgoing calls will come down to just €0.29 per minute. And finally, there will be a cap on data roaming charges of €0.70 per MB.

By 1 July 2014, the mobile internet charge will be down to only €0.20 per MB and outgoing calls will fall to €0.19 per minute while incoming calls will be only €0.05 per minute. Texts will be a very reasonable €0.06 each. These rulings will go a long way to reducing bill shock when using smart phones abroad. Another new piece of legislation will mean that people travelling outside the EU will get a warning message when they’re nearing €50 of data downloads or a different preagreed level so that they don’t unexpectedly run up massive phone bills.

Please see the tables below for the full range of price caps over the next few years and pleased as know what you think about this new announcement.

Retail pricing (ex. VAT)

Current 1 July 2012 1 July 2013 1 July 2014
Data/MB None €0.70 €0.45 €0.20
Outgoing calls/minute €0.35 €0.29 €0.24 €0.19
Incoming calls/minute €0.11 €0.08 €0.07 €0.05
SMS/each €0.11 €0.09 €0.08 €0.06

Wholesale pricing

Current 1 July 2012 1 July 2013 1 July 2014
Data/MB €0.50 €0.25 €0.15 €0.05
Calls/minute €0.18 €0.14 €0.10 €0.05
SMS/each €0.04 €0.03 €0.02 €0.02

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