Roaming charges to drop

by Alfie FEATHERSTONE on March 29, 2012

It will be cheaper to make calls and download data using mobile phones while abroad from July due to a landmark EU ruling. Across Europe, holidaymakers will pay no more than 59p per megabyte for downloads and 24p were minute for calls under rules agreed by the European Parliament.

The move came after a shocking amount of mobile phone users returned home from holiday to find they had bills totalling thousands of pounds. Commissioner Neelie Kroes said customers had grown tired of being ripped off, while the European Commission vice-president for the Digital Agenda added that the new approach will give consumers more choice.

There is currently no limit on what can be charged for downloading data abroad, but other charges are capped at 9p a text and 30p per minute for a call. Under the new rules, texts will be cheaper at 7.5p.

Travellers will also soon be able to shop around and sign up for different deals when they are abroad while still keeping the same number. Alternately, they will be able to choose a mobile network in their host country.

By July 2014, it is hoped than the cost of receiving a call overseas will fall to 4p, sending a text will cost 5p and customers will pay no more than 16p per megabyte of data and 15p per minute for a call. There are also plans to introduce better information about roaming charges outside the EU so people can avoid ‘bill shock’ on returning home.

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