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Proposals Made to Reduce Mobile Roaming Prices in EU

Wed 06 Jul, 2011 // Firstnumber Team
international phone calls

In a move which may lead to the reduction of mobile phone roaming costs, the European Commission has put forward a set of proposals to lower price caps on calls, text messaging and data downloads when abroad.

The caps would, if agreed upon, come into force gradually until July 2014. By this time, it is also hoped that phone users will be able to use distinct accounts when travelling overseas, separating their local and international contracts in order to keep costs down when in a different country.

Currently, mobile phone owners are able to buy a SIM card local to their destination, but this means that the person must adopt a new phone number for the duration of their stay.

The new methods would allow the customer to retain their number, whilst interchanging between their national network, and one belonging to the user's European destination.

For years, the use of a mobile phone abroad has been considered as an overly expensive privilege; now it seems that it will become far easier to keep costs down when contacting one's country of origin.

The new rules would apply not only to calls made, but also to music or image downloads, as well as text or multimedia messaging.

At the moment, there is a cap on calls made to another country with the EU of approximately 31p per minute, excluding VAT (this would see it rise to around 37p per minute). The proposals in question would mean the reduction of this cost cap to 22p.

The area which will be effected greatly is that of data downloading, for which there is no current cap on pricing. By July 2014, it is suggested that the cap on such activity be set at 45p per megabyte.

Commenting on the changes put forward, director general of the European Consumers' Organisation, Monique Goyens, said:

“Roaming should not be a trap of travel in Europe...It is unjustifiable that data roaming can be 50 times more expensive than when at home.”

It is hoped that the caps will become redundant by 2015 as a result of growing competition amongst network providers to offer the best roaming deal.

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