updated 01:35 pm EDT, Thu May 12, 2011
EU to introduce bill to cap phone roaming dates
The European Commission will, yet again, propose legislation over the next few weeks that would reduce roaming charges across European Union member countries, Reuters was told on Thursday. The cuts would be closer to national rates and while they would cut profits for carriers such as Vodafone, Telefonica (O2), Deutsche Telekom (T-Mobile, and France Telecom (Orange), subscribers would get closer to regular rates for roaming. The draft is expected to be approved by June and would lower the price maximums carriers can charge for voice calls and text messages while their subscribers are traveling throughout Europe.
At the same time, a cap on data roaming would also be introduced. In 2010, travelers' data-roaming bills have been limited to extra charges of 50 euros ($71) per month to avoid extra charges. Customers can, however, request a higher or lower limit.
The new proposal would slash the cost of a roaming voice call to 24 cents per minute starting in July of 2014, rather than the current cap of 39 cents per minute. Sources add that July of 2016 may be when higher roaming costs would be non-existent, equaling voice calls in a home country. At the same time, text messaging fees would be capped at 10 cents rather than the current 11 cents.
EU officials hadn't confirmed the details, but they have previously hinted that they expected rates to come down further.