EU to slash more mobile charges

posted on 23 Sep 2008 15:33 by technologynews
Mobile phone
Using a phone abroad should become even cheaper

Proposals to slash the cost of using mobile phones abroad, for text, data and voice calls, could become law next July following a vote in Brussels.

The European Parliament is to vote on whether roaming costs for text messages should be capped.

The cost of sending a message is expected to eventually fall by 60% from an average of 23 pence to 9 pence.

Voice calls would fall from 36 to 27 pence a minute and customers would be able to set limits on data downloads.

A reluctant mobile phone industry first had limits on its roaming charges imposed by the EU in September 2007.

However, those applied only to voice calls, not those for texting or browsing the internet.

Mobile phone companies were limited to charging a maximum of around 34 pence a minute for making calls, and 17 pence to receive a call.

This is now set to be cut again, if EU Commissioner for telecommunications Viviane Reding's plans go through.

Customers downloading data would then be able to set a maximum cost level before their service cuts out.

Ripped off

Last year, Ms Reding demanded that mobile phone companies cut voluntarily the cost of texting and browsing while abroad, or face more limits being imposed by the EU.

She later set the industry a deadline of 1 July to fall into line, but no agreement has been reached.

She also repeated her accusations that self-regulation had failed, and that the industry's customers were still being ripped off.

She said that the 2.5 billion text messages sent every year by roaming customers in EU countries were costing 10 times more than domestic messaging.

The EU's campaign against high mobile phone calls abroad started in 2005 when Ms Reding denounced roaming charges as extortionate "fantasy costs" which simply penalised customers for using their mobile phones abroad.