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Europe Finally Approves Cheaper Mobile Broadband Roaming from July 2012

Thursday, May 10th, 2012 (1:27 pm) - Score 1,696

The European Parliament (EC) has today voted unanimously (578 in favour, 10 opposing and 10 abstentions) to adopt new rules that, effective from 1st July 2012 (all EU Member States), will make it significantly cheaper to surf the internet from your Mobile Broadband connection while roaming abroad within the EU. The price of mobile voice calls and text (SMS) messages will also fall.

The new rules will be formally adopted by the EU Council of Ministers in June 2012, before coming into force the following month, while the European Commission (EC) will have to review the measures again by 30th June 2016. Suffice to say that roaming data prices will experience a huge fall over the next two years as mobile operators are forced to adapt (EU cents below).

eu 2012 data roaming rates

To put this into perspective, at present the maximum wholesale price for a single MegaByte (MB) of EU data roaming is €0.50 (£0.40), which will fall to €0.25 (£0.20) from 1st July 2012 before falling down to just €0.05 (£0.04) by 1st July 2014.

Sadly the retail price cap is still set between three and four times higher, although operators are likely to offer different levels. On top of that a series of additional measures have also been introduced to help boost competition and prevent Bill Shocks.

Additional Roaming Measures

* Alerts in the EU to prevent “bill shocks” will be extended to also cover people travelling outside the Union. As from 1 July 2012, people will get a warning message when they approach 50 Euros of charges in a month (excluding VAT), if the foreign network is compatible.

* From 1 July 2014, customers will be able to buy their domestic and roaming services separately, from different operators, if they so wish, whilst keeping the same phone number. They will not be charged for switching providers and their home country provider will be obliged to inform them of this right.

* Furthermore, as from 1 July 2012, virtual mobile network operators (MVNOs), i.e. those who do not have their own networks, will have the right to access other operator’s networks at wholesale prices in order to provide roaming services. This will encourage more operators to compete on the roaming market.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
Leave a Comment
2 Responses
  1. Phil says:

    This is very welcome best news but far too late, too late!

    1. DTMark says:

      Used to travel to The Netherlands about 10 years ago quite regularly.

      Had to buy a Dutch SIM every time, because Vodafone maintained that Vodafone NL is “roaming” and nothing to do with “Vodafone UK” so the ludicrous data charges were justifiable.

      I even looked at what they used to call data cards – a GPRS data card a bit like a dongle. IIRC it was £99 and included some data in the UK, but using it in NL would have been about £2 per MB. “But I really only need to use it in NL, not here”… “Well, you can it’s £2 per MB” – what planet are you on?! and that was a long time ago.

      As you say, very welcome news at last.

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