Lower roaming charges - a welcome boost for summer sunseekers

29-Jun-2013 @ 22:0

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Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

New EU rules on maximum charges for mobile data roaming will come into force on Monday - just in time to give a handy boost to summer holidaymakers who like to use their mobile phones and tablets abroad.

Senior Conservative MEP Giles Chichester today welcomed the move - which he said should mean fewer tourists getting a nasty shock from their post-holiday phone bills.

From 1 July 2013, the European Union's Roaming Regulation will lower the price caps for data downloads by 36 per cent, making it much cheaper to use maps, watch videos, check emails and update social networks while travelling across Europe.

Data roaming will now be up to 91% cheaper in 2013 compared with 2007. During this period the volume of the data roaming market has grown by a massive 630%. These two trends mean that both consumers and mobile operators have significant new opportunities thanks to the European Commission and MEPs such as Mr Chichester who have backed the reforms.

Operators are free to offer cheaper rates, and some have already begun to remove roaming premiums altogether for voice and SMS, or to offer a roaming-free areas across parts of Europe.

Mr Chichester, MEP for the South West and Conservative negotiator on the new regulations, said: "Not all EU legislation is intrusive or unhelpful. This will be of real practical assistance to consumers...particularly those who may only travel abroad once a year for their hoidays.

"It should also help small business who want to to seek new markets on the continent.

"Too often people come home to an unwelcome "Bill Shock" from their monthly mobile device invoice. This cap on the amount mobile operators can charge for roaming data we should stop this kind of thing spoiling the end of their holidays.

"We would have preferred not to legislate and to let the mobile companies trim rates voluntarily. Sadly this was not happening quickly enough and we had to step in on behalf of the consumer."
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