The European Parliament has voted to scrap mobile roaming charges in the EU by December 2015 following a successful campaign by Liberal Democrat MEPs.
Current EU caps on roaming charges have saved consumers across the EU an estimated £8bn since they were introduced from 2009, and new lower caps coming into force on 1st July 2014 will bring costs down even more.
However, Liberal Democrat MEPs introduced amendments calling for the charges to be abolished completely, including costly fees for data roaming in the EU which can reach up to £376 per gigabyte.
Commenting, Liberal Democrat MEP Edward McMillan-Scott said:
“Ending unfair roaming fees will mean people travelling in the EU will be able to use their phones just like they do at home, whether that’s using maps, downloading apps or sharing photos online.”
Lib Dem Rebecca Taylor MEP added:
“This is just one example of how by leading in the EU we can drive down costs for local families and businesses and make life easier for people when they go abroad.”
Notes to Editors
Today’s full report on the EU Telecoms Package can be found here. Negotiations on the final legislation between the European Parliament and national governments in the Council are due to take place after the European elections in the second half of 2014.
Under EU caps coming into force on the 1st July 2014, the maximum cost of data roaming in the EU will come down from 40 euro cents (33p) a MB to 25 euro cents (21p) a MB.
Figures uncovered in a Parliamentary Question by Liberal Democrat MEPs show that EU caps on roaming charges have saved consumers EUR 9.6bn (£7.94bn) since 2009.
The European Parliament is calling for a strict definition of net neutrality. Blocking and throttling of internet content will be banned, which will give users access to the full and open internet. Companies will still be able to provide “specialized services” with enhanced quality (such as IPTV, video on demand, tele-surgery) as long as this doesn’t affect the internet speeds promised to other customers.
The photo below shows Edward McMillan-Scott MEP and Rebecca Taylor MEP joining with other European Liberals from the ALDE Group outside the European Parliament’s Brussels chamber after the successful vote to scrap mobile roaming fees.