Data Roaming Charges To Be Banned in the EU

Data roaming charges scrapped in EU (photo credit: Danny Molyneux/Flickr)

Data roaming charges scrapped in EU (photo credit: Danny Molyneux/Flickr)

Marked up costs of using mobile phones abroad are to be abolished within the EU.

The ban will commence on the 15 June 2017, after years of deliberation by MEPs.

Data roaming charges are added by telecoms companies to texts, calls and mobile internet data while abroad.

In the meantime a cap on the costs of data roaming will take place from the 30 April 2016, to act as a substitute until the ban comes into full effect. The cap would limit mobile operators to charging at maximum an extra €0.05 (3.5p) for calls, €0.02 per SMS and €0.05 per megabyte of data used.

The ban will benefit many users as if they need to use their phone abroad,  they will be charged the same as they would be in their own country. It was voted through by 665 MEPs after years of discussions with mobile tariffs, alongside net neutrality proposals, which affect how internet traffic is governed.

Which? have called the ban “a huge win for millions of travellers”, claiming that this “should put an end to uncertainty about using your mobile abroad and cut off bill shock.” They also echoed concerns about other charges rising: “We now want the Commission to ensure that the industry doesn’t increase other charges and reform of the wholesale market is completed on time.”

According to uSwitch “Bill shock from holidaying in the EU affects more than 9 million UK mobile users a year”. They also showed concern over the rising charges: “If this regulation change isn’t properly managed, higher mobile phone bills for all may just prove to be the sting in the tail, with infrequent travellers drawing the short straw.”

This was the last vote on the matter as most member states have come out in support of the plan.

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