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February 2, 2017

EU finally ends mobile roaming charges, fixed rate coming in summer 2017

At the end of an almost decade long process, EU countries have agreed to a single roaming rate ahead of June 15 deadline.

By Joe Clark

The EU has agreed to a standard roaming rate for customers travelling abroad.

Starting June 15th 2017, customers will be able to use their phones to “roam-like-at-home” as the EU begins its new initiative.

The process, which has taken almost 10 years to finalise, will allow customers to make phone calls, texts, and utilise internet services for the same cost that they would at home.

The wholesale prices will include, 1 cent per text, 3.2 cents per minute of voice call, and a step by step reduction of data roaming over the next five years decreasing from €7.7 per GB on June 15, to €6 in 2018, €4.5 in 2019, €3.5 in 2020, €3 in 2021, and €2.5 in 2022.

In a statement Andrus Ansip, Vice-President for the Digital Single Market, said: “This was the last piece of the puzzle. As of 15 June, Europeans will be able to travel in the EU without roaming charges. We have also made sure that operators can continue competing to provide the most attractive offers to their home markets.”

“Today we deliver on our promise.”

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Earlier in the week Mr Ansip warned that if the Union could not come to an agreement it could have dire effects for the EU and feed the idea that they are inefficient when dealing with the conerns of the average citizen.

The main point of contention arose from a North-South divide over what the initial cap should be, Southern Europe, which relies more heavily on the tourist industry worried that the seasonal tourist increases would force operators to raise domestic prices. In Northern and Eastern Europe, member states were against telecom companies raising prices as they already have low domestic prices.

The agreement marks a 90% drop in the maximum wholesale roaming prices across Europe.

It is expected that UK customers will only be able to enjoy the benefits of the single roaming rate until 2019 after British MP’s voted to formally leave the EU on February 1st.

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