Roaming charges have been under scrutiny of late for being ‘unacceptably high’ as the House of Lords claimed last week. It now appears that discussions already underway in European Parliament have produced results proposing cheaper roaming costs for mobile users.
The BBC is reporting the new ruling means that consumers won’t be charged more than 29 cents (24 pence) per minute for a phone call, 7.5 pence per text and no more than 70 cents (59p) per MB for download data, throughout Europe.
The decision reached fruition following the growing numbers of consumers unaware of just how expensive current roaming charges are. Commissioner Neelie Kroes stated: “Consumers are fed up with being ripped off.” The current rates work out to around 30p a minute for calls and 9p per text message with data currently cap-free, allowing carriers to charge as much as they want per MB.
The VP of the European Commission for the Digital Agenda had this to say: “The new roaming deal gives us a long-term structural solution with lower prices, more choice and a new smart approach for data and Internet browsing.“
The new ruling not only dictates the lower pricing, but also better prepares users for international mobile use, with plans to give users the option to sign up with local carriers using their current number whilst they are abroad.
By July 2014 the aim is to further reduce roaming costs to avoid what some are calling ‘bill shock’, with the rate per minute for placing a call dropping to around 15p and the rate for receiving a call whilst abroad dropping down 4p per minute. Data costs are also planning to be reduced, with users expected to pay no more than 16p per MB. Texts will drop to 5p per message.
The system will also be able to notify users when they near €50 (£41) worth of expenditure on data downloads. With an ever increasing number of smartphone users internationally racking up data charges, the implementation of a scheme such as this couldn’t have come at a better time.