EU roaming charges to fall
Mobile users will find it cheaper to make or receive calls while travelling in the European Union as new regulatory price caps come into effect on Saturday.28 August 2008
BRUSSELS -- European Union consumers will find it cheaper to make or receive calls on their mobile phone while travelling to another EU country as of Saturday.
According to the EU's Roaming Regulation, the current price cap of EUR 0.49 per minute (excluding VAT) for making a call while abroad will fall to EUR 0.46 on August 30.
The maximum price that European mobile phone operators will be able to charge their customers for receiving a call while roaming will likewise fall, from EUR 0.24 to EUR 0.22 per minute.
The EU's Roaming Regulation, which came into force last summer and is due to expire in 2010, foresees a third and final lowering of the price caps - to EUR 0.43 and EUR 0.19 respectively - on 30 Aug 2009.
Such price reductions do not involve sending text messages or surfing the internet.
"The next challenge is now to bring about a single (EU) market for roaming text messages and data services," said Viviane Reding, the EU's telecoms commissioner.
The European Commission introduced price caps after studies found that mobile phone operators were applying excessive roaming charges to customers and charging them an average of EUR 1.15 per minute.
National regulators say an independent cost analysis has shown that the EU caps are still EUR 0.08 higher than they should be.
An EU study of how the new Eurotariffs are being applied has also revealed that mobile phone operators still display a tendency to overcharge their customers.
Some operators, for example, charge the full two-minutes fare for a call lasting one minute and two seconds.
Customers across the EU's 27 member states are paying an average of 24 percent more than the minutes they actually use to make calls.
So far, only France, Spain, Portugal and Lithuania have introduced rules forcing mobile phone companies to bill by the second.
[dpa / Expatica]