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Phone roaming charges to fall again
Mobile phone roaming charges will fall again from July following a European Parliament vote.
The latest round of cuts are the latest step towards a European Commission goal of reducing the gap between domestic and "foreign" call rates to virtually nothing by 2015.
As well as further reducing the cost of making calls from abroad and receiving calls from home, the decision cuts the cost of "data roaming" when holidaymakers want to download information from the internet.
The cuts involve reducing the cost of making a mobile call from another EU country from about 30p a minute to 24p, while the cost of sending a text drops to just 7p. Overall, roaming costs have fallen by up to 75% since the campaign began in 2007, said the commission.
Europe's Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes said: "By putting price caps on data we have created a roaming market for the smart phone generation. More than that, we have ended the rip-offs familiar to anyone who has used a mobile phone while travelling abroad.
"I am pleased that year after year the European Union is putting money back into the pockets of citizens."
London Labour MEP Mary Honeyball said: "For far too long exorbitant and unnecessary fees have cost EU citizens. These charges are unjustifiable and we finally have been able to intervene and set up sensible fees which don't put ordinary hard-working people out of pocket.
"Under the deal a 50p cap protects mobile users from accidentally running up unexpected bills if they forget to turn off their data roaming setting."
Compulsory maximum roaming rates were first imposed on mobile network operators five years ago to tackle what the commission called the "roaming rip-off". The operators were said to be making profits of more than 200% for mobile calls made in another EU country, and 300% or 400% for calls received.
Under the new rules, applicable from July, consumers travelling in another EU country than their own will pay no more than: 29 euro cents (24 pence) per minute to make a call; 8 cents (7p) to receive a call; 9 cents (8p) to send a text message; 70 cents per megabyte (58p) to download data or browse the internet whilst travelling abroad, charged per kilobyte used.