Good news for European mobile users. Starting June 2017, they will no longer have to pay roaming charges for calls anywhere within the European Union. The 28 countries in the continent will receive the benefit of scrapped mobile roaming charges in Europe.
On Tuesday, the European Commission announced the news after negotiating for 12 hours with EU negotiators. There will be a low cap on calls, texts and data while roaming.
The European Commission is keen on building a single telecommunication market across the whole continent, which will also support net neutrality. This move is just part of the overhaul, and this will place strong Net Neutrality rules to prevent Internet providers from charging high fees for faster connection or blocking content.
Monique Goyens, director general of the European Consumer Organization, stated, “Today a deal has been drafted with a date to demolish the last digital borders of roaming charges.”
Monique said, “However, there is devil in the detail. The abolition of retail roaming prices by 2017 is dependent on a wholesale market review being completed, which promises to be a tough task. We cannot call it the end of roaming when there are in-built exceptions to allow providers to charge consumers when they go abroad if they fear it’s too costly. It is critical that the EU and national governments observe the deadline and finally ban roaming.”
Nevertheless, good news is in store for consumers. Effective April 2016, roaming charges will be dropped. Wireless carriers will be allowed to charge a minimal price over domestic rates while roaming. It can be 0.05 Euros per minute for calls, 0.02 Euros for message and 0.05 Euros for per MB data used.
The European Commission that has already worked on dropping charges for call and data has moved a step ahead. From 2016, the rates will be 75 percent cheaper. Compared to 2007, the rates are already 80 percent down, as reported by CNet.
Apart from the decreased rate of calls and data, the continent will also have its set of Net Neutrality rules effective 2016. The only capping will be for child pornography and net attacks.
The agreement announced on Tuesday has to be approved by the European Parliament and the European Council. Once that is done, it has to be translated into all the languages of European Union before it can take effect.
Andrus Ansip, Commission vice president for Digital Single Market, said, “Europeans have been calling and waiting for the end of roaming charges as well as for Net neutrality rules… They have been heard. We still have a lot of work ahead of us to create a Digital Single Market.”