Financial News

  • 2 July 2014, 8:33

Data Roaming Charges Cut By More Than Half

The cost of accessing the internet on your phone abroad in EU countries falls by more than half today, with a new cap on data roaming charges.

The tariff, introduced by the European Commission, limits the price of one megabyte of data to 20 cents (16p) - a 55% decrease from this time last year.

Mobile providers must also offer travellers reduced text messages at 5p, incoming calls at 4p per minute and outgoing calls at 15p per minute.

However, British travellers will still pay considerably more abroad than at home.

In the UK, data costs around 10 per gigabyte. Under the new cap, a gigabyte downloaded abroad would cost 42.

The price cut comes before a major telecoms reform, due to take effect from December 15 next year.

Under the reforms, data roaming will be scrapped altogether in the EU and accessing internet data on a smartphone will cost as much abroad in the EU as in the UK.

The changes have been agreed by the commission and now must be ratified by EU member states.

Neeli Kroes, vice-president of the European Commission, said: "This huge drop in data roaming prices will make a big difference to all of us this summer.

"But it is not enough. Why should we have roaming charges at all in a single market? By the end of this year I hope we see the complete end of roaming charges agreed."

Some operators have warned that scrapping roaming could cost the telecoms industry 5.6bn before 2020.

But other mobile operators including Three have pressed ahead, offering free roaming in many EU countries, well in advance of the new rules.

The new rates apply only to EU member states - countries like Switzerland and Turkey are not affected, nor are countries outside Europe.

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