Cheaper EU data roaming charges come into force on 1 July

30 May 2012

European ministers have agreed to the new EU roaming regulation that will reduce the cost of data roaming in Europe. The new rules will come into force on 1 July.

This new regulation will lower the prices for using mobile phones and tablets within the EU until 2014.

This new regulation is a big success for the citizen-led campaign ‘Europeans for Fair Roaming’ that has been calling for further lowering of roaming charges for the last two years.

The campaign managed to unite 20 associations, 14 members of the European Parliament and 150,000 people behind the goal of making roaming charges in Europe a thing of the past.

According to the new EU law, prices for roaming will be lowered to 29ct/min for calls and 70ct/MB for internet access in July 2012 and will keep going down to 19ct/min for calls and 20ct/MB for internet access by 2014.

In addition, users will be allowed to choose a different operator for roaming which should bring about more competition. Consumer protection will also be improved when leaving Europe as operators will have to send a warning when the bill for internet use approaches €50.

Focus will now shift to international roaming charges

“This means that the new EU roaming rules will now come in force on 1 July, just in time for the summer holidays,” the co-ordinator of the campaign Bengt Beier explained.

“We are glad governments accepted the new regulation just as the Parliament did on 10 May. The new rules are a step forward for consumer protection. But it will take another two years until we will know for sure whether prices will really drop.

“The EU should now look towards two other nuisances for mobile users: the high prices for worldwide roaming and international calls from home to other European states. Because those things are not covered by the roaming regulation,” Beier said.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years