EU Parliament votes to abolish roaming charges by Christmas 2015

3 Apr 2014

Mobile roaming charges will finally come to an end by Christmas 2015 after the EU Parliament today voted to end the unpopular charges. The vote came as part of a wider vote in support of plans for a telecoms single market.

The moves are part of the European Commission’s vision for a ‘Connected Continent.’ The Commission proposed the regulation in September 2013.

It aims to bring us much closer to a truly single market for telecoms in the EU, by ending roaming charges, guaranteeing an open internet for all by banning blocking and degrading of content, co-ordinating spectrum licensing for wireless broadband, giving internet and broadband customers more transparency in their contracts, and making it easier for customers to switch providers.

“This is what the EU is all about – getting rid of barriers to make life easier and less expensive,” said European Commission vice-president Neelie Kroes.

Win-win for consumers and telcos alike

“Nearly all of us depend on mobile and internet connections as part of our daily lives. We should know what we are buying, we should not be ripped off, and we should have the opportunity to change our mind. Companies should have the chance to serve all of us, and this regulation makes it easier for them to do that. It’s win-win.”

The ending of roaming charges has been an EU goal since 2010 but has become something of a movable target with the goal posts shifting from 2012 to the summer of 2014 and now the end of 2015.

The Commission expects final agreement of the Regulation by end of 2014.

“Beyond the highly visible barrier of roaming we are now close to removing many other barriers so Europeans can enjoy open, seamless communications wherever they are,” Kroes said.

Mobile user image via Shutterstock

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