EU roaming charges drop sharply on Saturday
Brussels (AFP) – Mobile phone roaming fees in the EU will fall sharply on Saturday, the last step before they are abolished completely for Europeans next year.
The European Union will scrap phone roaming charges outright on June 15, 2017 ending fees loathed by millions of holidaymakers and business travellers across Europe.
“We’re in the home stretch now before the end of roaming charges in 2017,” Andrus Ansip, the European Commission’s Vice President for the digital single market, said on Friday.
“This is not only about Europeans saving money, this is about bringing down barriers in the digital single market”.
With Saturday’s change, European users travelling on the continent will pay no more than an extra 0.05 euros per minute for calls, 0.02 euros per SMS and 0.05 per megabyte of data.
Currently, the cap is more than triple that at 0.19 euros per minute for calls, 0.06 euros per SMS and 0.20 euros per megabyte of data.
“We welcome the slashing of roaming prices,” said Monique Goyens, head of the European Consumer Organisation.
“Today’s consumers do not understand why crossing a border in Europe has to result in soaring phone and internet costs,” she said.
The end of roaming charges is a key element of the EU’s effort to create a far more unified market in Europe, especially for digital and communication services.
The EU mooted plans last year that would allow travellers to get online streaming services like Netflix or BBC iPlayer when abroad, something currently blocked.