Mobile roaming: MEPs win deal with Council to lower price caps

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Data roaming and phone calls abroad should be much cheaper this summer thanks to a deal provisionally agreed by MEPs and the Danish Presidency of the Council of Ministers on Tuesday evening. The deal still needs to be approved by Parliament as a whole, but if approved, the new rules would take effect on 1 July 2012.

“I am satisfied that the Council approved Parliament’s approach to tackle very high prices of phone calls, SMS and in particular of data roaming. The proposed price caps ensure a sufficient margin between wholesale and retail prices to assure a level of competition that will enable new players to enter the market. Parliament succeeded in its call for cheaper data roaming for customers. This agreement increase transparency and consumer protection to prevent bill shocks, so that EU consumers no longer need to worry about accidentally running up huge bills when using their mobile devices both within and outside the EU”, said Angelika Niebler (EPP, DE), Parliament’s rapporteur for the draft legislation.

New cuts on roaming charges in particular for data and phone calls

According to the deal, a downloaded megabyte would cost no more than 70 cents as of 1 July 2012, 45 cents in 2013 and 20 cents as of 1 July 2014 to consumers, as requested by the Industry Committee. There is currently no price ceiling for mobile data services charged to consumers.

The cost of a one-minute call would not exceed 29 cents as of 1 July 2012 and 19 cents as of July 2014, down from 35 cents under the current legislation. An SMS would cost no more than 9 cents as of 1 July 2012 and 6 cents as of 1 July 2014, down from 11 cents under the current legislation.

The new proposals aim to meet the Digital Agenda for Europe pledge to bring roaming tariffs into line with domestic prices by 2015, in line with Parliament’s requests. Here to read more.

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