Expats living in Europe to get lower mobile roaming charges

Published:  17 Sep at 6 PM
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Tagged: Citizenship, Euro
A European Commission plan is likely to result in cheaper mobile phone roaming costs from as early as next year.

Expats living overseas in EU member states who enjoy touring around neighbouring countries are at present forced to pay for their pleasure via hugely expensive mobile roaming charges on top of their phone bills. The EC ruling aims to simplify red tape and reduce the charges in a plan hailed the most ambitious in 26 years.

Although the plan needs to be approved by European lawmakers and all 28 EU member states, if agreement is reached there will be a ban on incoming call charges in place by next July. A total ban on other roaming charges will be brought in by 2016.

Mobile companies are unlikely to appreciate the changes, as it will mean they must charge the same rate for all calls within the EU or enable customers to switch providers when they are outside their country of residence simply by changing SIM cards. The plan is aimed at creating a single market across all EU member states for telecoms and their users.

European commission president Jose Manuel Barroso told the media that a single market for telecoms is an essential part of the Commission’s strategy for economic progress. He added that it’s also for EU citizens across the board who are frustrated and annoyed by the lack of fair and full access to mobile and internet services.

Telecoms experts, however, fear the change is taking too long, although they regard the proposed solutions as simple common sense. A two year hiatus before roaming charges are history, they say, may dampen the celebrations as roaming at present adds around £120 ro the average mobile phone bill, and companies may attempt to fabricate even longer delays.
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