The proposed regulation would allow customers from 1 July 2014 to sign-up for a cheaper mobile roaming contract, separate from their contract for national mobile services, but keep the same phone number.
Roaming consumers would pay no more than 24 cents (22 pence) per minute to make a call, a maximum 10 cents (9 pence) per minute to receive a call, maximum 10 cents to send a text message and maximum 50 cents before (45 pence) per megabyte (MB) to download data or browse the Internet whilst travelling abroad (charged per kilobyte used). All prices exclude VAT.
From 1 July 2012 mobile operators (including virtual mobile operators who do not have their own network) would have the right to use other operators' networks in other member states at regulated wholesale prices. This would make it easier for more operators to compete on the roaming market.
Until structural measures become fully effective and competition drives retail prices down, the proposal also allows for the progressive lowering of current retail price caps on voice and texting (SMS) services and introduces a new retail price cap for mobile data services.
The proposal addresses the objective set in the Digital Agenda for Europe that differences between roaming and national telecoms tariffs should approach zero by 2015.
Before the measures take effect, the proposal will now be submitted to the European Parliament and EU's Council of Ministers. Once adopted it would have direct effect in all EU countries.