European Commission slashes cost of data roaming in time for summer

Mobile & tablets

by Michael Moore| 24 June 2014

Data usage costs down 55%, with calls and texts also becoming cheaper from July 1.

The European Commission has announced it is significantly cutting the costs associated with using a mobile phone abroad as part of a long-going campaign against high roaming charges.

In news which will doubtlessly delight holidaygoers, the EU has announced that from July 1, the price caps for data downloads will be cut by more than half: down from 45 cents per megabyte to 20c/MB, meaning it will be cheaper than ever for people to check emails and post to social media than ever before.

"Since the EU introduced caps on data roaming, data consumption has risen dramatically," the EC said in a press statement.

Phone calls and text messages will become cheaper as well, with the cost of making a call falling 21% from 24 cents per minute to 19 cents per minute, receiving a call falling from 7 cents a minute to 5 cents a minute (a 28.5% decrease) and the cost of sending a text being reduced from 8 cents to 6 cents - a 25% fall.

"This huge drop in data roaming prices will make a big difference to all of us this summer. But it is not enough," added Neelie Kroes, Vice President of the European Commission responsible for the group's Digital Agenda.

"Why should we have roaming charges at all in a single market? By the end of this year I hope we see the complete end of roaming charges agreed - the Parliament has done their part, now it is up to Member States to seal the deal!"

The Commission, headed up by Kroes, has enjoyed great success in its battle against roaming charges, which are still seen as a major source of income by many operators. Thanks to new legislation passed earlier this year, roaming charges across Europe will be abolished by December 2015.

Several UK networks have already launched special cost plans for the summer months, with Vodafone offering a cheaper PAYG price plan for customers travelling to many popular European holiday destinations, and Three increasing the number of countries exempt from its roaming charges to 16 as part of its "Feel At Home" program.

 

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