25 March 2009

EU mobile roaming deal ahead of summer period

Prices of mobile phone calls made between EU countries will be further lowered as of July this year, according to an agreement on the EU's 'roaming regulation'. As part of the deal, however, telecoms companies will still be able to subject users to an initial charging period of 30 seconds, which should enable operators to maintain some revenue. According to the text of the final agreement, mobile phone calls passed from one EU country to another will be capped at €43 cents per minute from July 2009, down from the current limit of €46 cents. This cap should be further decreased to €39 cents from July 2010, and to €35 cents from July 2011. More good news for consumers came with an agreement on a new system to prevent so-called 'bill shocks' for data roaming, which frequently hit mobile Internet users when abroad. The new regulation sets a €50 limit for data roaming per month (excluding VAT). Once a customer reaches 80% of this amount, the mobile operator will send a warning message, giving details of a procedure to continue data roaming. Should the user fail to respond, the operator must automatically cut the service once the cap is reached.