Using your mobile abroad cheaper thanks to MEPs

EU further reduces cost of calls and smartphones abroad

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Baroness Sarah Ludford MEP
Liberal Democrat MEP for London

Tel: 020 7288 2526

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As of 1st July the cost of using your mobile abroad – mobile ‘roaming’ – within the EU will become cheaper as part of an EU initiative to gradually reduce the cost of making and receiving calls on a mobile when overseas.

 The EU law was passed 2 years ago and has forced telephone operators to progressively reduce their roaming charges, with the last drop in prices coming into force today. From now on, the maximum price for outgoing calls will be cut to 31p per minute and operators will only be able to charge a maximum of 9p per minute when you receive a call abroad. A text message will now only cost up to 9p – a 60% reduction compared to the pre-2009 average. The price of checking emails or using mobile internet has been reduced from 90p to 72p per MB.

Liberal Democrat MEP for Hounslow Sarah Ludford said:“Any Hounslow resident going on holiday this summer will be happy to know that, thanks to the EU, they won’t come home to such extortionate roaming bills any more!”

“The European Parliament was right to step in on this, as mobile phone networks were charging crazy prices for no good reason and had to be reined in.”

“The travelling public should not be ripped off every time they want to stay in touch with their friends, family or colleagues when abroad.”

The price caps will however expire in June 2012 and the European Commission is in the process of reviewing what effect the move has had.

Sarah continued:“We need to find a permanent solution to high mobile charges when abroad. It doesn’t actually cost the operators that much more when you use your mobile in another EU country, and the prices should reflect that.”

The European Commission has proposed a major review of the rules on charges for using your mobiles abroad. Not only must the cost of calls and texts come down further, but for the first time price caps are set on data costs for internet and email on smartphones.

Using data while abroad costs an average of £1.80 per MB today. But it will fall to no more than about 80p (€.90) per MB from July 2012 and 45p (€.50) by 2014. That will represent just one-quarter of today's price.

Hounslow Liberal Democrat MEP Sarah Ludford said:

"These announcements are a hugely welcome step in the fight to end exorbitant charges and bill shocks for the UK's 10 million smart phone users”.

"Price controls should always be a last resort, but these changes are long overdue and will benefit consumers while boosting competition in the longer term.”

The proposal from the European Commission will now require approval by the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers in a process likely to conclude next spring.




July 7, 2011