From summer 2012: data downloads get much cheaper
Since 2007 the EU has placed price caps on calling and texting. Now data is being brought under the same system.
The new prices caps which enter into force on 1 July 2012 are:
- 29 cents per minute to make a call, plus VAT
- 8 cents per minute to receive a call, plus VAT
- 9 cents to send a text message, plus VAT
- 70 cents per megabyte (MB) to download data or browse the Internet whilst travelling abroad (charged per Kilobyte used), plus VAT.
Downloading data previously cost more than 4 euro per megabyte from many operators in July 2009 – those prices will be cut by around six times.
By 2014, as prices are cut further, the maximum cost of downloading data will be just 20 cents per megabyte, plus VAT, a saving of 90% on many current rates.
Operators are free to offer cheaper rates. Price caps are a maximum level, acting as a safeguard, and competition should drive them lower.
From 2014: competition will deliver cheaper roaming
Enabling customers to the option to shop around for a separate mobile roaming provider will provide an incentive for mobile network operators in countries visited to offer services at rates close to national prices, on the basis of their own low national network costs.
As people's mobile data use intensifies and they want to use their devices anywhere at any time, many travellers are likely to find the wifi-like option very attractive. These forces will reinforce each other to create lower prices and better network coverage.
Price caps will stay in place until 30 June 2017 as an extra safety net for consumers.
In recent years consumers have benefitted from EU action to create a strong safety net of price caps and guarantees against “bill shocks” and more competition which drives the market to cut prices further.
The latest Commission proposals have moved from draft to implementation in record time of less than one year (see IP/11/835).
Compared to 2007 prices, the improved EU roaming regulation – taking into account calls, SMS and data - will deliver consumers savings of 75% across a range of mobile roaming services.
This year Europeans will spend around €5 billion on roaming services, a saving of around €15 billion compared to what the same services would have cost under 2007 prices.