Belfast Telegraph

EU mobile roaming charges near end with provisional deal to cap wholesale prices

The end of mobile roaming charges across the EU is a step closer following a provisional deal to cap wholesale charges.

The European Parliament has agreed a deal to cap the prices that telecoms operators pay for using each other's networks.

This is in order to allow travellers to use their mobiles across the EU for the same cost as they would at home.

The full European Parliament and EU member states must confirm the deal.

The new caps have to be low enough for operators to be able to offer fee-free roaming to customers without putting up domestic prices, but high enough so they can recover their costs.

Dr Emmanuel Mallia, the Maltese Minister for Competitiveness and Digital, Maritime and Services Economy, said: "This decision is the final step in a process that started 10 years ago.

"From next summer, wherever they are travelling in Europe, citizens will be able to make calls, send texts, surf and stay connected. Roam like at home is now a reality."

An interim cap came into effect in April last year making roaming within the EU 75% cheaper during the interim period.

The new rules aim to prevent consumers receiving huge bills after downloading films or other data while travelling in Europe.

Consumers have been especially vulnerable to roaming charges since the smartphone market exploded and mobile data consumption soared.

So-called "bill shock" from holidaying in the EU affects more than nine million UK mobile users a year, according to research by comparison website uSwitch.

UK consumers will benefit from the agreement while the country remains a member of the EU, but there is uncertainty as to whether or not it will continue following Brexit.

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