Roaming charges to be abolished for mobiles across the EU

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Nigel Farage take note. You know that infernal bureaucracy in Brussels that is apparently the bane of all our lives, foisting senseless red tape on us and destroying our nationhood? Well it just saved us a lot of money.

From next summer, roaming charges within the EU will be abolished and a flat rate for calls, texts and data will prevail across the continent.

Mobile rates had already been capped by the EU but data roaming – often accidentally left on - has led to absurd bills for consumers, often running into the thousands of pounds as people are gouged for internet use.

The new legislation will save holidaymakers an average of £120 and was backed by all 27 members of the European Commission, who voted to finalise the changes before the European elections next May.

Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes said: “If we do this right, digital connections can bring political connections. Digital dividends can bring social ones. Whether for travel, trade or transactions, our people need this reform.”

Good old British firms (for British read multi-national and barely paying any tax in the case of Vodafone at least)were never going to wipe 2% of their profits clean away without a Brussels flavoured nudge.

And yet – it’s not all altruism or bending to the bureaucrat’s will. Mrs Kroes’ spokesman Ryan Heath said it was “not a total shock” to operators as the industry believed it could recoup those profits as people felt increasingly confident using their phones abroad, thus plugging the gap of low volume / high charges with high volume / lower charges. The subtext is also an opening of mobile markets across Europe as providers can now offer packages in different countries as prices will be the same across the EU.

Ernest Doku, of uSwitch.com, said: “Our research shows 15% of Brits have arrived home from holiday to a massive bill, averaging £120 on top of their typical bill. Scrapping roaming charges is a real win for consumers.

“Not only will we be better protected from bill shock, but the doors will open to foreign networks looking for a piece of our market, which could mean cheaper mobile deals.”

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