Cost of using a mobile abroad could fall two-thirds by 2014
Members of European Parliament have voted to cut the cost of using a mobile phone while travelling abroad within the European Union (EU).
Provided they can convince EU officials it's necessary, call charges could drop from a maximum of €0.35 (29p) per minute now, to €0.25 (21p) per minute from the start of July.
From July 2013, making calls from overseas would be capped at €0.20 (17p) per minute. And by the same month a year later, calls could be capped at just €0.15 (12p) per minute.
Text messages would also be cheaper under the proposed regulation - €0.08 (7p) per SMS message by July 2012, €0.07 (6p) by mid 2013, and a further drop to €0.05 (4p) in 2014.
Using mobile internet overseas is particularly costly at the moment, and this is another area where EU law makers want to see prices drop - to a maximum of €0.50 (42p) per megabyte (MB) of data in 2012, €0.30 (25p) a MB in 2013, and €0.20 (17p) per MB in 2014.
Naturally, the mobile networks aren’t thrilled by the idea - roaming charges bring in a significant chunk of their revenue after all. At this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, a number of telecoms executives took a stand against the proposals, warning Europe that much-needed economic growth was being slowed by excessive regulation.
In a keynote speech on Monday, Vittorio Coloa, CEO of Vodafone said: “What does Europe need? Does Europe need investment? Does Europe need employment or does Europe need mobile termination rate cuts? We really need to stop this auto-pilot regulation mentality.”
Even so, it’s likely that the new regulation will go through. Current EU regulation around roaming phone charges comes to an end in June, so ministers are eager to pass new regulation before that date.