The price for making or receiving voice calls while travelling within Europe will drop again on Friday, in the last such cut before new roaming legislation is proposed to drive prices down further.
It will cost no more than 35c (32p) per minute to make a call and the new price cap for received calls will be 11c per minute. The costs for roaming voice calls within the EU have fallen steadily since 2007, when the European Commission imposed caps on what operators could charge their customers for calls and texts, and the per-minute caps currently stand at 39c for making calls and 15c for receiving them.
Next up for the Commission is data roaming. As ZDNet UK reported in May, the EU regulators will shortly unveil retail caps for data-roaming services within the continent, along with structural changes that will introduce competition into the roaming market — as people tend to sign up with an operator for their domestic services, then get stuck with that operator's charges for international roaming, such competition does not really exist at the moment.
"These new price caps will temporarily reduce retail prices for making and receiving voice calls when in another EU country during the coming year," digital agenda commissioner Neelie Kroes said in a statement. "But we have to tackle roaming problems at the root with a long lasting structural approach. The Commission will therefore be coming forward very shortly with comprehensive new proposals for long-term solutions to address the underlying problem of lack of competition in roaming markets."
The only limit on operators' data-roaming charges is currently at the wholesale level. Also from Friday, that wholesale cap will drop from 80c per megabyte to 50c per megabyte.
As trailed in April, on Thursday the GSM Association (GSMA) published its first bi-monthly 'Data Roaming Price Basket', detailing the data-roaming deals that are on offer.
The mobile industry body, which has been lobbying against any regulatory intervention in data-roaming pricing, said the "European average of best available postpaid tariffs" is 94c per megabyte, when calculated from what the GSMA calls a "medium-usage" 10MB bundle.