European roaming charges to be revised downwards

New plans from Brussels could see data roaming charges within the EU sliced by more than half, with travellers also able to select which network to use while overseas.

This week the European Commission is expected to announce proposals for bringing the cost of international voice and data transfer down in to line with national telecom tariffs.

The current price cap on roaming charges was implemented four years ago and revised downwards again in 2009. It was due to expire in July 2012, but will now be extended to 2016, much to the consternation of network operators who have lobbied for caps to be removed.  A number of firms have previously unsuccessfully challenged the regulations in the European Court of Justice.

Now, the maximum roaming charge is 35 euro cents for calls made abroad and 11 cents for calls received while travelling. The Commission’s proposals are expected to revise this limit down again.

However, it’s not all bad news for operators such as Vodafone , Deutsche Telekom, Telefonica and Telecom, that have complained lower roaming rates have robbed them of huge chunks of revenue.

Mobile data company Acision this week told Reuters news agency that the transparency which caps provide may be beneficial. "It could even be a revenue opportunity for them, as Acision's research revealed 42 percent of consumers believe that spend limits would encourage them to make greater use of mobile services while roaming, while 41 percent would be happy to pay for real-time notifications," Acision's Jonathan Pearson said.


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