The EU Parliament declared that mobile networks will not be able to charge customers more than 70 Euro cents per MB when a new ruling comes into force this summer.
From the 1st of July onwards, networks will have to cap any out-of-bundle data costs at 70 cents for each megabyte of data used, which currently converts to 56p per MB in UK money.
“Using mobile devices abroad remains expensive. During the summer holidays, our citizens will be able to take advantage of more favourable tariffs.
Parliament has succeeded in its call for cheaper roaming prices for consumers, and in particular for data roaming,” said rapporteur Angelika Niebler on Wednesday.
The EU Parliament voted overwhelmingly in favour of the new ruling, which was announced back in March. 578 votes were cast in favour of the rules, with just 10 abstentions.
Roaming rates are set to fall further over the next two years. In 2013, data roaming rates are set to drop to no more than 45 cents (36p) and in 2014 there will be a drop again to 20 cents (16p).
In terms of average web use, 1MB will let you browse a handful of web pages (depending on images and Flash banners etc) and let you send around 200 plain emails with no attachments. In other words, not a huge amount.
EU: Mobile roaming rates for calls and texts to fall
Calls are set to take a tumble too; caps on voice calls will see a one-minute call cost no more than 29 cents (23p) from the 1st of July 2012, and 19 cents (15p) from July 2014.
The costs of sending a text while abroad is also set to fall to 9 cents (7p) this summer and then to 6 cents (4p) in 2014.
The EU Parliament has also ruled that; “from July 2014, consumers will be able to choose an operator other than their national operator for roaming services. The new rules will also help to open up the market to new entrants and so increase competition”
Right now it’s possible to buy a local or travel SIM For use when you’re heading abroad, but these new rules could see us not having to go through the hassle of swapping SIMs and having a different number for the time spent abroad.