EU cuts the cost of mobile phone calls within Europe
European Parliament has passed regulations to make using a mobile phone abroad significantly cheaper.
The plans, which were voted in by a huge majority, include imposing a price cap on operators.
From July, using mobile data in Europe will not cost more than 70 eurocents per megabyte – far less than current rates.
Consumers will also be able to choose a different operator abroad from the one they use at home.
It is hoped this split-network approach – which comes into force in 2014 – will encourage greater competition.
The first changes will come into effect from 1 July. Calls will be capped at 29 eurocents per minute, plus VAT.
The EU said the regulations were designed to prevent “bill shock” – the moment when travelers discover they have totted up huge bills after making calls and using data applications, such as maps, while away.
“In a borderless Europe, there is no place for charges that diverge so much at home and abroad,” said MEP Ivo Belet.
The EU said the changes could mean savings for a “typical” businessman of more than 1,000 Euros in a year.
The EU said that from 2014 customers would be able to choose their mobile networks upon arrival in a country, or signing up to a contract before leaving.
Currently, mobile users are forced to use their standard domestic operator when travelling abroad – or to use alternative arrangements, such as a cheap pre-paid handset.
Under the new regulations, customers can choose a different operator with a more attractive travel tariff before leaving – without changing their number.
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