EU to reduce mobile data roaming charges

From today (July 1st), it will be cheaper for people from the EU to make phone calls and access the internet from their mobile phones.

The EU's Roaming Regulation will ensure that the price for data downloads will be decreased by 36 per cent. According to the European Commission, data roaming charges will now be up to 91 per cent cheaper than they were in 2007.

At the most, operators will be able to charge 45 cents (39 pence) per megabyte for using the internet or downloading data, 24 cents per minute for making a call, seven cents per minute for receiving a call and eight cents for sending a text. All of these new prices do not include value added tax. Additionally, operators will be able to charge less and some have already scrapped roaming premiums or selected roaming free areas within the EU.

This reduction on roaming charges will also include the newest edition to the member states, Croatia, which joined on the same day that the new cap was introduced.

Talking about the drop in roaming charges, vice president of the commission 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. This is good for both consumers and companies, because it takes fear out of the market, and it grows the market."

Companies with links abroad will welcome the news as it will become much cheaper to arrange business travel and ensure that their employees are able to log into their applications using their own devices. Additionally, workers can ensure they get to their destination as the cost of accessing map functions will be reduced.

In the future, roaming charges could be eradicated completely in the EU as Ms Kroes has said she hopes to see a single mobile market established across member states by the year 2015.