European Union’s key institutions have reached an agreement that, if approved by member states, would completely eliminate roaming surcharges on phone calls and mobile internet within the EU starting in June 2017.
The European Commission said on June 30 that its agreement with the European Parliament and the Council of the EU – both of which will have to formally endorse the deal – will cut existing roaming charges already in April 2016. At that point, carriers would be allowed to impose fixed surcharges of up to five euro cents for each minute or megabyte of data, and no more than two euro cents for each text message.
The complete elimination of roaming charges on June 15 2017 would require a “series of technical conditions” being met, with the Commission saying that it was “fully committed to implementing those conditions and making sure that the end of roaming charges is operational as of day one.”
EC’s drive to reduce roaming fees over the past decade has already resulted in an 80 per cent reduction in the prices for phone calls and texts since 2007, as well as data roaming prices being cut by 91 per cent in the same time period.
The Commission said that the agreement also guaranteed for the first time the principle of net neutrality into EU law: “users will be free to access the content of their choice, they will not be unfairly blocked or slowed down anymore, and paid prioritisation will not be allowed.”
Europe’s digital single market commissioner Andrus Ansip said: “Europeans have been calling and waiting for the end of roaming charges as well as for net neutrality rules. They have been heard.” Ansip said that the plans were endorsed by EU heads of government last week.
(Photo: Dawson Toth/sxc.hu)