The End of Roaming Charges? Quite Possibly, as EU Slashes Rates by More than 50%

25 June 2014
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Source: European Commission Source: European Commission

How will the roaming rate cuts in the European Union impact the rest of the world? Beginning this July, and just in time for the World Cup Finals 2014, the European Union(EU) will bring down the roaming rates by more than half.

According to the European Commission(EC), mobile subscribers travelling within the EU can now more than double their mobile usage and still pay the same as before. Based on the increase in data consumption following its previous rate caps, this is expected to increase the data consumption by even more given that subscribers need more and more data to keep up with their data dependent lifestyles - from accessing emails, making calls and texting, connecting to their social circles on various social media applications and accessing rich media content online. Since the EU started cutting their roaming rates in 2007, the rates have dropped by 80-90% to date. The EC published the following rate caps for this year and last year, showing the biggest price slashes being made on data charges at 55.55%. 

Type of mobile activity in the EU

2013 caps (before VAT)

2014 caps (before VAT)

Decrease

Making a call

24 cents per min

19 cents per min

21%

Receiving a call

7 cents per min

5 cents per min

28.5 %

Sending a text message

8 cents

6 cents

25 %

Downloading data / browsing

45 cents per MB

20 cents per MB

55.5 %

The EC also said that service providers in EU can allow their subscribers to choose a local mobile provider for data services from the country they are visiting, and pay the rates offered by these service providers, which means that subscribers can shop for the best rates as they shop for everything else while holidaying. Infact, subscribers can look forward for total elimination of roaming rates as the EU works on abolishing roaming charges altogether.  

"This huge drop in data roaming prices will make a big difference to all of us this summer. But it is not enough. Why should we have roaming charges at all in a single market? By the end of this year I hope we see the complete end of roaming charges agreed – the Parliament has done their part, now it is up to Member States to seal the deal!"

Neelie Kroes, Vice President of the European Commission

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