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Today Europe Cuts the Price of Mobile Broadband and Phone Roaming

Tuesday, Jul 1st, 2014 (1:27 am) - Score 1,310

Europe might still be attempting to kill off mobile txt, voice and Internet (data) roaming charges for good but in the meantime it’s worth remembering that the previous regulation will today result in another fall in prices across the continent, which will also impact the United Kingdom.

On 1st July 2014 the EU will cut the price (retail and wholesale costs) of making calls, sending text messages or surfing the Internet from your mobile phone for one final time before introducing a new policy that looks set to kill off roaming charges for good (here).

The current rules, which also include measures to help prevent BILL SHOCKS caused by high data roaming charges (e.g. a warning txt when you approach 50 Euros worth of charges in a month), came into force on 1st July 2012 (here) and have been cutting prices each year since.

For example, on 1st July 2012 the base retail cost of sending 1MB (MegaByte) of data over a mobile network while roaming within the EU fell to 70 Cents (0.7 Euros), while on 1st July 2013 it dropped once more to 45 Cents and this year the fall will take that price to just 20 cents or £0.16p (currency rate at the time of writting: 1 Euro = £0.80p); a fall of around 55.5%.

Just to put this into a little perspective, a single music track might be between 3MB and 10MB in size, while a 480p movie could come in at around 500MB depending upon codec quality settings and bitrate etc. (500MB * 0.20 Euros = £80). So the prices are a huge improvement but we still wouldn’t risk anything more than basic usage until the rules change again next year (see further down).

eu 2012 data roaming rates

In addition, from 1st July 2014, mobile providers in Europe will also be able to offer a specific roaming deal before you travel and, where available, allow you to choose a local mobile provider for data services in the country you are visiting. So you can compare roaming offers, and benefit from more attractive offers and prices while you’re away. But it remains to be seen quite how this will work in practice.

Most of the United Kingdom’s major mobile operators have already introduced various tariffs (e.g. O2 Travel) to reflect the changes and some of those will now be adjusted again. Meanwhile the EU’s plan to kill off roaming charges is expected to achieve final agreement by the end of 2014, before being introduced as part of the wider Telecoms Single Market Regulation by the end of 2015.

Neelie Kroes, VP of the European Commission’s Digital Agenda, said:

This huge drop in data roaming prices will make a big difference to all of us this summer. But it is not enough. Why should we have roaming charges at all in a single market? By the end of this year I hope we see the complete end of roaming charges agreed – the Parliament has done their part, now it is up to Member States to seal the deal!

In the future it’s hoped that UK consumers will pay the same for data abroad as they do at home, which might also deal another blow to public wifi hotspots.

Mark-Jackson
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 X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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