Wednesday, 16th May 2012
"MEPs have given the final backing to cap all mobile phone roaming charges from July 2012 onwards," Sean Kelly MEP confirmed after the key vote at the European Parliament today, (Thursday).
The Ireland South MEP, a member of the Parliament's Industry Committee which sought EU-wide agreement on lower roaming fees, explains what the new EU legislation means for consumers:
"The new rules will come into force on 1st July 2012, capping the maximum charges for data, calls and text messages while a mobile user is 'roaming'. The rates will be further reduced in 2013 and 2014 also as part of the phased process:
The maximum cost of calls made while abroad will be capped at 29 cent per minute in July 2012, 24 cent per minute in 2013 and 19 cent per minute by 2014.
The cost of sending a text message while abroad will be a maximum of 9 cent per text in July, falling to 8 cent by 2013 and to 6 cent per message by 2014.
The cost of downloading data will reduce to 70 cent per megabit by July 2012, to 45 cent in 2013 and to 20 cent by 2014.
"It should be noted that these are the maximum fees phone operators can charge their customers. There is still room for increased competition in that market and even lower costs for mobile phone users.
"Until now, Europeans have had to contend with extortionate roaming charges with some operators making profits of 700% in some cases. That is simply not acceptable. Today is an absolute victory for consumers across Europe."
Having led a campaign to see data roaming fees reduced in particular, Mr Kelly also pointed out that the substantial reduction in the high cost of using internet services on smart phones will benefit business people and everyday mobile users who travel abroad as well as increasing the accessibility and affordability of mobile phone technology.
578 MEPs, including Mr Kelly, voted in favour of the capped roaming rates today, 10 voted against and 10 abstained from the vote.
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