Meeting in Brussels today, European ministers have agreed to the new EU roaming regulation that was passed by the European Parliament three weeks ago.
The Citizens’ Initiative against roaming charges in Europe, “Europeans for Fair Roaming” (FairRoaming.org) applauds the decision. It means that the new EU roaming regulation has now been accepted by both the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers, the two law making bodies in the EU and will come in force on July 1. This new regulation will lower the prices for using mobile phones and tablets within the EU until 2014.
This new regulation is a big success for the citizen-led campaign “Europeans for Fair Roaming” that has been calling for further lowering of roaming charges for the last two years. The campaign managed to unite 20 associations, 14 Members of the European Parliament and a total of 150000 people behind the goal of making roaming charges in Europe a thing of the past.
According to the new EU law, 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 allowed to choose a different operator for roaming which should bring about more competition. Consumer protection will also be improved when leaving Europe as operators will have to send a warning when the bill for internet use approaches 50 Euro.
Speaking after the vote, the coordinator of the FairRoaming.org campaign, Bengt Beier, said: “This means that the new EU roaming rules will now come in force on July 1, just in time for the summer holidays. We are glad governments accepted the new regulation just as the Parliament did on May 10. The new rules are a step forward for consumer protection. But it will take another two years until we will know for sure whether prices will really drop. The EU should now look towards two other nuisances for mobile users: the high prices for worldwide roaming and international calls from home to other European states. Because those things are not covered by the roaming regulation.”