The European Union is getting ready to cut down on those high prices paid by Internet users when they leave the country. In fact, starting with July 1, the cost of using data roaming will drop by more than 55 percent.
The move comes as part of the cost-cutting efforts announced last year, as the European Commission tries to cut down the cost of mobile roaming within the member nations, which includes making and receiving phone calls, sending text messages and using mobile data.
Calls are capped at 19 cents per minute, down from 24 cents, while receiving a phone call is going to only cost users 5 cents per minute while abroad, down from 7 cents. Sending text messages is also going to cost 6 cents tops per SMS, down from 8 cents.
The most impressive drop, however, is the one affecting the cost of downloading data and browsing on your phone while traveling. From 45 cents per MB, telcos will only be allowed to demand a maximum 20 cents per MB, 55.5 percent less.
The prices will actually continue to drop in the next couple of years, especially since this is a multi-year plan to completely abolish roaming charges within Europe. The costs are to be diminished in stages so as not to impact the telcos’ financial situation too badly, but the result is the same – clients in, let’s say, Germany will pay the same whether they stay at home or go to Spain on vacation.
This will considerably lower the huge bills that people get every time they go on vacation across borders, something that should contribute to encourage tourism within the European Union.
“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!” said Neelie Kroes, vice president of the European Commission, responsible for the digital agenda.
The European Union actually started to take action against the ever-growing roaming charges back in 2007, when they reached a peak. Ever since then, the roaming charges have dropped by 80-90 percent and will continue to lower until they reach zero.