EU mobile roaming charges to be scrapped

Plans to scrap mobile roaming charges in the European Union (EU) by 2017 are expected to receive final sign off by Member States tomorrow.

At a meeting of the EU Competition Council, the UK’s Business Minister, Baroness Neville-Rolfe, and her European counterparts are expected to give their formal agreement to the legislation.

The new rule will mean that mobile phone users will not have to pay any extra for mobile roaming which includes making calls, texts and using the internet while abroad.

Although the ending of the charge is not due to be implemented until June 2017, further cuts to roaming will be introduced on April 30 2016 as part of the same agreement.

After the 2016 date, the cost of using data abroad will have been reduced by 95 per cent in comparison to four years ago.

The UK government said it had led the calls to end roaming charges since the beginning by working with its allies in other EU countries and the European Parliament.

The European Commission originally began the process of pushing for a reduction of roaming charges in 2006, with fees dropping by 70 per cent a year later.

Neville-Rolfe said: “The end is now in sight for those astronomical bills that so many holiday makers face after a trip to Europe.

“The UK has worked with other countries and the European Parliament to get a better deal for consumers and that’s what today’s agreement will deliver.

“This shows that the UK can deliver real reform in the EU to produce real benefits to consumers in Britain.”

Roaming charges outside of the EU will not be affected by the legislation and the majority of phones are unable to access 3G and 4G connections consistently around the world due to differences in the spectrum used by countries globally.

However, UK researchers recently demonstrated a new technique that requires only one channel for two-way communications that could enable global roaming on 4G in the future.

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