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May 3, 2016updated 05 Sep 2016 11:50am

Cheaper mobile roaming to come into effect in EU

The measure is being introduced ahead of full ban on roaming charges from 15 June 2017.

By CBR Staff Writer

Mobile phone roaming charges throughout the European Union (EU) will be decreased by about 75% before a full ban is put in place.

For anyone who wish to use their phone in Europe from 30 April, roaming charges will be capped at €0.05 per minute of call made, €0.02 per SMS sent, and €0.05 per MB of data, excluding VAT.

The limitations will be in effect until 15 June 2017 where Europeans will pay the same price whether they use their mobile devices at home country or somewhere else in the EU.

The European Commission vice-president for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip said: "We’re in the home stretch now before the end of roaming charges in 2017. This is not only about Europeans saving money, this is about bringing down barriers in the Digital Single Market."

The rules set the principle of net neutrality rules for the first time in EU law.

Commissioner Günther Oettinger, in charge of the Digital Economy and Society, said: "These rules protect the right of every European to access the online content of their choice, without interference or discrimination.

"They will avoid fragmentation in the Single Market, creating legal certainty for businesses and making it easier for them to work across border."

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The commission said the rates are the maximum permissible fees and operators are free to offer cheaper deals.

The national telecoms regulators of Member States are required make sure that mobile phone operators comply with the new rules on data roaming and the lower prices of voice calls.

The lower prices could bring down the historically high revenue margins for European telcos.

According to European Commission estimates, telcos are missing out on a market of about 300 million mobile users because of current prices.

The amount of data required by the average consumer is increasing exponentially, as travel between EU countries also trends upwards.

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