Costs of Roaming will decline from 1 July 2009
SMS-Services, Calls and Data Services become cheaper
The times where consumers had to expect "bill shocks" for downloading a picture or a movie with a mobile phone while roaming in the EU are over.
The European Parliament, in its plenary session in Strasbourg, today voted by a large majority in favour of new EU rules on SMS and data roaming, proposed by the European Commission in September 2008.
The Parliament also voted for further cuts in the price of mobile phone calls while roaming in another EU country.
The present cap for a mobile phone call made abroad will progressively drop from €0.46 to €0.35 per minute by July 2011, and from €0.22 today to €0.11 for mobile calls received while roaming abroad. Mobile operators will also be required to bill roaming calls by the second from the 31st second at the latest, which will end the current practice.
The new EU roaming rules endorsed by the Parliament (22.04.2009) will:
- SMS-services: cap the price that consumers can be charged for sending a text message while abroad at €0.11 (excluding VAT), compared to a current average of €0.28 (with prices per roamed SMS above €0.35 in the Netherlands and in Portugal).
- Data roaming: substantially reduce data roaming charges (the cost of surfing the web or downloading movies with a mobile phone while abroad) by introducing a wholesale cap of €1 per megabyte downloaded, compared to an average wholesale price of € 1.68 per megabyte, with peaks in Ireland (€6.82), Greece (€5.30) and in Estonia (€5.10). The wholesale cap will fall to €0.80 in 2010 and to €0.50 in 2011.
- Protection from "bill shocks": by allowing customers to choose a cut-off mechanism once the bill reaches €50, unless the consumer opts for a higher limit. Operators will have until March 2010 to put these transparency measures in place.
- Mobile-phoning: further reduce price caps for mobile roaming calls. Now at €0.46 for calls made and €0.22 for calls received abroad, the caps will go down to €0.43 for calls made and €0.19 for calls received abroad on 1 July 2009, to €0.39 and €0.15 on 1 July 2010 and to €0.35 and €0.11 by 1 July 2011 (all prices per minute, excluding VAT).
- Per second billing: introduce the principle of per-second billing after the first 30 seconds for roamed calls made and from the first second for calls received while abroad. At present, consumers are paying around 20% more than the time they actually consume when making or receiving calls.
Put into force : 1. July 2009
Following today's Parliament vote, the new EU Roaming Regulation will become directly applicable law throughout all 27 EU Member States on 1 July 2009.
The new roaming rules, which add to a first EU regulation on voice roaming adopted in 2007 will apply until summer 2012. The European Parliament has asked the Commission to report on the functioning of the new rules again by summer 2010. The Commission could then propose further rules, if required, by the end of June 2011.
Since the present European Commission took office, the use of mobile telephony in the EU grew from 84.6% to 119% of the population.
The EU's telecoms market counts 500 million potential users of fixed and mobile telephony, Internet broadband and mobile data services.
To solve structural problems of competition and regulatory consistency within this market and to stimulate new investment, the European Parliament, in its May plenary session, is expected to vote on a major reform of the EU's telecoms rules initiated by the Commission in November 2007.
The new rules include the establishment of a European Telecoms Regulator called "BEREC" (Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications) by January 2010.
The EU Roaming Rules in detail:
|Rates excluding VAT from:||01.07.2009||01.07.2010||01.07.2011|
|SMS-Roaming per SMS||€ 0,11||€ 0,11||€ 0,11|
|Data-Roaming per Megabyte||€ 1,00||€ 0,80||€ 0,50|
| Aktiv-Roaming per Minute|
(calls made while abroad)
|€ 0,43||€ 0,39||€ 0,35|
| Passiv-Roaming per Minute|
(calls received while abroad)
|€ 0,19||€ 0,15||€ 0,11|
Per-second billing is mandatory after the first 30 seconds for roamed calls made and from the first second for calls received while abroad.
© European Communities, 1995-2009