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Mobile roaming charges to fall again under new EU deal

A new price cap should be enforced in time for this year’s holiday season – with data charges among those to fall.

Image: Dave Thompson/PA Archive/Press Association Images

ROAMING CHARGES FOR using mobiles abroad are expected to fall further this summer after MEPs agreed a preliminary deal on price caps.

Under the proposals, mobile operators could charge no more than 29c per minute to make a call, 9c to send a text and 70c for a megabyte of data.

The price caps agreed by the European Parliament’s Industry Committee are expected to be approved by all MEPs, and will then come into force on July 1 2012.

They will be further reduced over the next two years – with maximum charges dropping to 19c/min for a call, 6c for a text message and 20c per MB of data by July 1 2014.

After that date, mobile users will also be able to shop around and sign up to a separate mobile contract for roaming. The measure is designed to prevent networks offsetting cheap domestic rates with high roaming charges.

Neelie Kroes, European Commission Vice President for the Digital Agenda, said:

Consumers are fed up with being ripped off by high roaming charges. 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.

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Fianna Fáil MEP Liam Aylward also welcomed the move, saying:

There is a clear commitment among EU policy makers that the roaming rip-off must come to an end. The cuts and capping of costs are the latest moves towards reducing the expense of using phones abroad for consumers.

More: Pay-as-you-go mobile charges are 20 per cent above OECD average>

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Michael Freeman

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