Cost of European mobile roaming drops

by Alister POOLE on July 5, 2011

The cost of both making and receiving phone calls on mobiles while travelling around Europe has dropped again.

As of today, operators can’t charge over 32p a minute for outgoing calls, in addition to 10p a minute for incoming calls. The latest tariffs come as part of a series of yearly price reductions that have been forced on the lucrative industry of mobile phones by the European Commission.

By 2015, Brussels hopes to have roaming and domestic charges equalised. Price regulations were introduced in 2007 by Viviane Reding, the then commissioner for the European Commission’s information society and media department. Ever since then, maximum call charges have been reduced by roughly 6% per year.

A bunch of UK mobile operators - namely O2, Vodafone, Orange and German-owned T-Mobile - attempted to overturn and challenge the price-cutting agenda, going as far as taking a case they had put together to Europe’s Court of Justice. Unsurprisingly, the complaint was completely dismissed in June 2010.

Along with lower rates for mobile phone calls, the rate of mobile data has been reduced from 80 euro cents to 50 euro cents per megabyte. Whereas price caps on voice calls apply directly to the way in which consumers are billed, data changes are only affective on what operators must charge each other. Rather than an obligation, there is an expectation, to pass on any savings.

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