European Union set to end mobile roaming charges
- Author: Latoya Cobb Feb 02, 2017,
Feb 02, 2017, 0:08
"What this underlines is that mobile users using handsets overseas should always check their network's roaming charges for their destination country before they travel - and see if there's a bundle or add-on that could limit the cost", noted uSwitch's Ernest Doku. This will have a direct effect on customers: the higher the wholesale caps are, the fewer there will be "Roam-like-at-home" offers for consumers on the market using prepaid offers or unlimited bundles by virtue of art. 4.2. and 4.3. of the Fair Usage Regulation adopted past year in December. "Roam like at home is now a reality". Given that an agreement has been reached, there won't be any surprises during the vote.
Some mobile service operators have also claimed that the caps are still two high, and will prevent smaller operators from having "roam like at home" offers.
"This progressive decrease in data caps reflects the expectation that increasing use of mobile data services, combined with greater economies of scale, new technologies and effective competition, will reduce the cost of providing wholesale roaming services over the coming years", the European Council said in a statement.
It is a step towards the creation of a Digital Single Market and the introduction of a "roam-like-at-home" will be welcomed by Europeans, although it's not yet clear if the arrangement will remain in place in the United Kingdom post-Brexit.
The caps will need to be formally approved by the European Parliament, and its member states, however the deal is seen as being a message that the EU still works for its citizens and can function effectively.
The roam-like-at-home plan doesn't face too much opposition in European countries and is expected to come into full effect by the scheduled date of June 15.
"Today we deliver on our promise", said Andrus Ansip, European Commission vice-president.
It's unclear what will happen with United Kingdom mobile users' roaming fees in Europe after they leave the EU. However, the European Commission will review these wholesale caps every other year and recommend changes if it considers them necessary.
Negotiations ended right after midnight with a pact between the European Parliament, European Council and European Comission representatives.
The rates set by the Council of European Union member states and lawmakers also decrease over time. Prices fell for the final time in April 2016, to 5 cents per minute of voice call, 2 cents per SMS, and 5 cents per MB of data on top of national rates.