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EU Caps Mobile Phone Roaming Charges

Aug 25, 2007
The EU has decided to cap roaming charges which are charged by mobile phone operators when their customers travel abroad. The new cap will see roaming charges in Europe fall by 75%, although it may not be until later this year that new lower charges come into place.

The changes still need to be approved by the member governments of the 27-nation bloc, although these approvals are considered a formality. A European Commission spokesman described the vote as "wonderful", saying many people would now feel able to use their phones abroad for the first time.

The EU had been fighting for some time to reduce roaming charges for mobile phone customers whilst they were in other European countries. Currently a caller who is in another country is charged extra to make calls, and sometimes to receive them, as their mobile phone operator uses a network in that country to carry that call. It also meant that customers could find themselves being charged different amounts for the same length calls in different countries. However, mobile phone operators had been criticised for the amounts they were charging for this roaming service, with some setting up deals with foreign networks at the expense of the consumer.

Under the plans decided upon by the EU, the cost of making a mobile call anywhere in the EU would be capped at 49 euro cents (33p) a minute in year one, while receiving a call would cost 24 cents (16p) at most. These costs should now fall to 46 euro cents (31p) and 22 cents (14.9p) respectively in year two, and 43 cents and 19 cents in year three.

This means that although a call that is made or received whilst you are away in a European country will cost more than when you are at home, at least you will have an idea of just exactly how much you will be charged for the call in advance, as well as the cost being cheaper overall. As part of the plans, mobile users would also receive a free text message informing them how much they will have to pay when travelling abroad.

Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) praised the plans, saying that the new law would protect consumers from "abusive charges" that bore no relation to phone operators' costs.

However, consumers have been warned that text messages, picture messages and data roaming are not covered by this new law and that they should check these costs with their operator before heading to a European country.

Some mobile phone operators had already cut the price of their roaming charges or introduced plans and tariffs which made calls whilst in Europe cheaper. As a whole the mobile phone industry has reacted angrily to the new law saying that "that regulators had failed to prove the market was not working properly and the move had been driven by "political expediency".
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YouTalkForLess discusses mobile phone options both in terms of handsets and tariffs. It provides up to date news and reviews on the latest handsets and deals available ensuring that you find the best deal to meet your needs. For more information please visit http://www.youtalkforless.com/
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