Abolition of EU mobile roaming charges 'will help those in border areas'
Scrapping EU mobile roaming charges could save holidaymakers and those who live in border areas thousands of pounds, a Northern Ireland MEP said.
Extra fees will end within the EU by mid-2017 and will be significantly cut next summer after the European Parliament formally approved the rules.
Mobile phone users will pay the same price to make calls, send text messages and use data wherever they are in the EU from June 15, 2017.
This means users within the EU will be charged the same as they would in their home country.
DUP MEP Diane Dodds said: "P eople are being caught out by huge bills when downloading music or other data during their European holidays, ranging from hundreds to thousands of pounds.
"From 15 June 2017 this will be a thing of the past, with users within the EU being charged the same as they would in the member state.
"Furthermore, for those in Northern Ireland who live in border areas with the Irish Republic, the additional costs incurred because mobile networks automatically switching to providers in the Republic will also soon end."
Roaming charges will become cheaper from April next year, when operators will only be able to charge a small additional amount to domestic prices of up to 0.05 euro (3p) per minute of call made, 0.02 euro (1p) per SMS sent, and 0.05 euro (3p) per MB of data, excluding VAT.
The new rules aim to prevent consumers receiving huge bills after downloading films or other data while travelling in Europe.
And under new net neutrality rules, users across the EU will be free to access the content of their choice and will no longer be unfairly blocked or slowed down.
This means access to a start-up's website will not be unfairly slowed down to make way for bigger companies, the EC said.
No service will be hampered because it does not pay an additional fee to internet service providers.
All internet traffic will be treated equally, subject to strict and clearly identified public-interest exceptions such as network security or combating child pornography.