Yesterday evening, the EU lawmakers European Parliament and the Council of Ministers managed to broker a deal that will allow mobile phone, smart phone and tablet users to enjoy much lower costs when using their devices abroad. The deal came after some hard discussions between the two institutions. The citizens’ initiative “Europeans for Fair Roaming” that has been working on this issue warmly welcomes the agreement, even though it hoped for a fast reduction in prices.
According to the deal, prices for roaming will be lowered to 29ct/min for calls and 70ct/MB for internet access in July 2012 and will keep going down to 19ct/min for calls and 20ct/MB for internet access by 2014. In addition, users will be enabled to choose a different operator for roaming which should bring about more competition.
Consumer interests defended
Bengt Beier, coordinator of the 150000-strong citizens’ initiative Europeans for Fair Roaming (www.fairroaming.org) that has been calling for lower roaming charges since two years commented: “I am happy about this compromise. While we would have hoped for a faster reduction in prices so that consumers could enjoy lower prices this year, it is great to hear that the EU will continue its push for low prices for roaming. For a short time it looked like some governments were more interested in corporate interests than in consumer-friendly prices. But the deal struck will not only prevent consumers from suffering high prices but will also help the European economy in general.”
Besides lowering prices for roaming and allowing users to choose a networking of their choice for roaming within the EU, consumers will also be protected better when leaving Europe because operators will have to warn them if their bill approaches 50 Euro.