EU slashes mobile data roaming between member states by 36 percent

Mobile phone roaming in the EU just became a lot cheaper, with data charges declining by as much as 36 percent in 2013 alone.
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor

Starting Monday, mobile phone and mobile broadband users in Europe will benefit from cheaper calls and data usage across the 28 member state bloc, the European Commission announced.

According to a press release by the Brussels-based executive body, the new Roaming Regulation will come into effect for the second time, and will see the price caps for data downloads drop by 36 percent, making it significantly cheaper to check on Google Maps where in the region you are — even when you're outside your home country's network.

Compared to 2007, data roaming will now be 91 percent cheaper this year as a result of the new law, which began in 2012 to break down the national barriers between the EU's member states. For calls and text messaging, retail price reductions have fallen by more than 80 percent since 2007.

The new price caps will decrease data downloads by 45 euro cents ($0.59) per megabyte plus taxes, a 36 percent reduction compared to 2012. Making calls will drop to 24 euro cents ($0.31) per minute plus taxes, a 17 percent reduction on last year, while receiving a call will drop to 7 euro cents ($0.09) per minute plus taxes, a 12 percent decrease.

The cost of sending a text message will drop by 11 percent in 2012 to 8 euro cents ($0.10) plus taxes.

Visitors to Croatia, the newest member of the European Union, will also benefit as costs become 15 times cheaper, compared to around 10 times cheaper for the rest of the union.

Costs will continue to decline year over year, with the final drop coming this time next year on July 1, 2014, where data costs will be reduced to 20 euro cents ($0.26) per megabyte plus taxes, and making calls will drop to 19 euro cents ($0.25) per minute.

In a prepared statement, EU Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes said: "The EU has to be relevant to people's lives. The latest price cuts put more money in your pocket for summer, and are a critical step towards getting rid of these premiums once and for all."

She added, "This is good for both consumers and companies, because it takes fear out of the market, and it grows the market."

It comes just weeks after Kroes said that before her deadline of 2015, there will be a single mobile market across the EU, effectively killing any need for roaming charges at all.

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