Checking your e-mails, surfing the web and making calls while on holiday will once again become cheaper on Sunday. On July 1, the newest EU rules against high roaming charges will come in force and cap prices for calls, SMS and internet use on the mobile. This is a success for the 150000-strong campaign “Europeans for Fair Roaming” that brought down prices much more than originally planned.
According to the new EU law, prices for using mobiles phones abroad 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 is expected to bring about more competition. Most operators are already starting to offer roaming packages for travellers in reaction to the new law.
A success for citizens
The citizen-led campaign “Europeans for Fair Roaming” (FairRoaming.org) sees this as a success for their work. For the last two years, the group lobbied for further lowering of roaming charges and managed to unite 20 associations, 14 Members of the European Parliament and 150000 people behind this goal. Thanks to those efforts, FairRoaming.org managed to halve the prices for internet roaming, compared to the original EU proposals. Just like the new European Citizens’ Initiatives or the campaigns against ACTA, this shows a trend of growing influence of citizens on European politics.
The coordinator of the FairRoaming.org campaign, Bengt Beier, said: “Over the last two years, we managed to show European politicians that mobile phone users demand an end to unfair roaming prices. And the EU listened to most of our concerns. The EU Commission originally proposed prices of 50ct per MB in 2014. Together with the European Parliament, we managed to get them down to 20ct per MB! This shows that determined citizens can have a real influence on European politics.”