EU to end roaming charges in 2017, enshrines net neutrality in law

30 Jun 2015

EU member states have finally agreed to end roaming charges as well as enshrining net neutrality in law.

After more than a decade of promises,the European Union has finally reached an agreement to end roaming charges across its 28 member States as of June 2017. It has also backed strong net neutrality rules.

The ban on roaming charges was meant to come into effect in 2016 but member countries delayed this.

On 15 June 2017 people travelling in the EU will be paying the same prices as they do at home.

The European Commission has been working on ending roaming charges for more than a decade.
Prices for roaming calls, SMS and data have fallen 80pc since 2007.

Data roaming is now up to 91pc cheaper compared to 2007.

From April 2016 mobile operators will only be able to charge a small additional amount to domestic prices up to 5c per minute of a call, up to 2c per SMS and up to 5c per MB of data.

“Europeans have been calling and waiting for the end of roaming charges as well as for net neutrality rules,” said Andrus Ansip, Commission vice president for the Digital Single Market.

“They have been heard. We still have a lot of work ahead of us to create a Digital Single Market. Our plans to make it happen were fully endorsed by heads of state and government last week, and we should move faster than ever on this.”

Stronger net neutrality rules

The EU has also enshrined for the first time the principle of net neutrality into EU laws.

ISPs will not be allowed to block, throttle or prioritise websites to make way for big players.

In the EU’s open internet, all traffic will be treated equally, subject to strict and clearly identified public interest exceptions, such as network security or combating child pornography, and subject to efficient day-to-day network management by ISPs.

The EU will have the strongest net neutrality rules in the world and these new rules will become a reality across all member states when the text officially applies on 30 April 2016.

European Parliament in Brussels image via Shutterstock

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