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Calling from abroad - mobile roaming fees must go by 2015, say MEPs

"Roaming" fees for making mobile phone calls, sending text or downloading data while abroad must end by 2015, said the Industry Committee on Tuesday. "Unbalanced profit margins on roaming" not only create excessive costs for users but also hamper growth and prosperity . They are one reason why there is not yet a single telecoms market, MEPs say.

"This unanimous vote for a roaming-free Europe by 2015 is a strong signal that we fully support Commissioner Kroes' drive to get rid of roaming charges. We must ensure that the telecoms market works and that people are no longer afraid to use their mobile phones to make calls or download data when abroad. India and the USA have already abolished roaming fees, and it is high time for the EU to do likewise", said rapporteur Jens Rohde (ALDE, DK), rapporteur. His draft resolution was adopted unanimously by the committee members.

Roaming revenue accounts for about 10% of many EU operators' revenues and the Body of European Regulators of Electronic Communications calculates that on average, industry and private users pay double what operators pay on the wholesale market for roaming calls.

MEPs argue that the excessive cost of using a mobile phone abroad is a key reason why there still is no functioning EU single market for telecoms. Abolishing roaming fees is crucial to stimulate innovation and should be combined with other measures to create a genuine digital single market, they say.

Next steps

The Industry Committee resolution will be put to a plenary vote at Parliament's 9-12 September session and will be part of Parliament's input to the October summit. Pilar del Castillo (EPP, ES), Francesco de Angelis (S&D, IT), Amelia Andersdotter (Greens/EFA, SE) and Evžen Tosenovsky (ECR, CZ) helped to draft the text.