Europe is set to bring in new rules which will significantly cap mobile roaming charges following an agreement between the European Commission and EU member states.
As far as actual roaming charges go, the new EU rules mandate a set of maximum charges for data, voice calls made and received and SMS texts. The initial reduction to come into effect in July is fairly modest, reducing voice calls from 35c to 29c.
That said, the rules also introduce a maximum charge for data at a whopping 70 Eurocents a MB. If that sounds a lot, it is but there was no cap at all in the past.
"Consumers are fed up with being ripped off by high roaming charges," said the EC digital commissioner Neelie Kroes. "The new roaming deal gives us a long-term structural solution, with lower prices, more choice and a new smart approach for data and internet browsing," she added.
Charges to consumers and the rates companies charge each other will continue to decrease out to the last reduction due in July 2014. The 2014 rates are considerably less than those of today. The capped cost of a roaming voice call will be 19 cents and 1MB of data will be 20c.
The deal also means that Europeans travelling beyond Europe must also be told about the roaming fees that they will be charged.