Britons travelling abroad this summer will be able to text home for less after MEPs today voted to cap charges across Europe.
Legislation approved by the European Parliament in Strasbourg sets a maximum charge for sending a text message from July 1 to just nine pence for a UK customer, down from today’s prices that can hit 41 pence per text message. The new roaming text price cap represents an average cut in the cost of sending text messages while roaming in the EU by about 60%.
Europe Minister Caroline Flint said: ‘This is a good example of how the EU can bring real benefits to British people. As a mum I know parents will be especially pleased that there will be absolutely no excuse for the kids not to keep in touch when travelling in Europe this summer.’
Which? has expert advice to save you money on mobile costs. Read our guides to choosing a mobile phone tariff, surfing the internet on your mobile and using your mobile abroad.
Mobile operators to give clearer web and data costs
The new rules also mean mobile phone operators must provide clearer information on the cost of surfing the net and downloading data on a mobile phone when abroad.
In future, mobile phone users will receive a reminder when they have spent 50 euros – currently £44 – using these services abroad.
The aim of the European Commission proposal, first unveiled six months ago and already backed by EU telecoms ministers, is to eradicate “bill shocks” for customers – including cases where mobile users download films to watch on their mobile screens and find they have racked up charges running to thousands of pounds.
The EU has already taken action to reduce the costs for mobile phone users when they are travelling across the EU. Rules that entered into force in June 2007 have brought the average price of making a phonecall abroad in Europe down by more than half.
Liberal Democrat MEP Fiona Hall said: ‘I am disappointed that mobile operators are still fighting cost caps. In 2006, they were warned about the cost of roaming voice calls but failed to bring the charges down until MEPs forced them to.
‘For UK consumers, the cost of sending a text message when abroad often is as high as 41p per text. Compared with just 4p for a Latvian mobile phone user, this is scandalous.’
© 2009 Press Association
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