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MEPs force big cuts in mobile prices

Information society - 22-04-2009 - 14:18
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Something to smile about, making calls abroad will be limited to 0.43 per minute (excl. VAT)

A women on a mobile phone

MEPs have just voted to force large scale cuts in the price of text messages whilst abroad and other data roaming services. From July the price of a text message will fall to €0.11 when abroad. It came in a vote taken by the European Parliament that will bring down dramatically the cost of using your mobile phone when on vacation or a work trip. After a family holiday or business trip many people get a nasty surprise when they get their phone bill.

The compromise sets price ceilings beneath which mobile operators could compete by offering lower prices:
 
  • From 1 July 2009: a maximum of €0.43 per minute (excluding VAT) for outgoing and a maximum of €0.19 per minute (excluding VAT) for incoming roaming calls.
 
  • From 1 July 2010: a maximum of €0.39 per minute (excluding VAT) for outgoing and a maximum of €0.15 per minute (excluding VAT) for incoming roaming calls.
 
  • From 1 July 2011: a maximum of €0.35 per minute (excluding VAT) for outgoing and a maximum of €0.11 per minute (excluding VAT) for incoming roaming calls. 
 
  • From 1 July 2009 travellers should pay no more than a maximum of €0.11 (excl. VAT) per text message they send. 
 
MEPs also voted through the amendment that travellers will no longer have to pay to receive a roaming voicemail from 1 July 2010.
 
Downloads and internet surfing
 
MEPs also want to improve transparency for surfing the web and downloading data on mobile phones while abroad. Members agreed with the Council and Commission that price caps should be set for data roaming services (such as downloading and sending emails from mobile phones).
 
The price caps for the rates the host operator charges a roaming customer’s home operator will be as follows:
 
• From 1 July 2009: a maximum of €1.00 per megabyte (excluding VAT).
 
From 1 July 2010: a maximum of 0.80 per megabyte (excluding VAT).
 
• From 1 July 2011: a maximum of €0.50 per megabyte (excluding VAT).
 
Parliament's rapporteur, Romanian Liberal MEP Adina-Ioana Vălean commented: "I am hopeful that all parties will endorse a concrete first-reading agreement so that European consumers can fully benefit from this new regulation by the beginning of this summer."
 
 
REF.: 20090316STO51832