On 23 May, the European Parliament, in its plenary session in Strasbourg, voted with a strong majority in favour of an EU Regulation to substantially reduce the charges for using mobile phones abroad. This EU Regulation, which the European Commission proposed on 12 July 2006, was broadly supported by representatives of the 27 EU Member States last week. It will now enter into force before EU citizens enjoy their summer holidays.

"Today is a good day for consumers and business travellers in the EU," says EU Telecoms Commissioner Viviane Reding. "In a record time of only 10 months, a political agreement could be reached on the EU Roaming Regulation, thanks to the impressive support of the European Parliament and the negotiation skills of the German Presidency. This means that already from this summer, mobile phone customers will start benefiting from substantially reduced roaming charges when travelling from one EU country to another. Europe's internal market will finally become truly borderless, even for mobile phone bills."

In July 2006, the European Commission proposed an EU Regulation to reduce mobile roaming charges within the EU by up to 70%, as an instrument to complete the internal market (see IP/06/978). Despite the Commission's repeated calls to mobile operators, using mobile phones in other EU countries remains on average 4 times more expensive than domestic mobile phone calls – a difference particularly felt by tourists, and small and medium-sized companies with cross-border business activities. A consumer website on roaming tariffs from across the EU, a Commission led-transparency initiative, exposed flagrant roaming prices of up to 12 euro for a 4-minute call (see IP/05/1217), but did not change the pricing behaviour of mobile operators. The Commission therefore proposed to intervene with regulations (see SPEECH/06/69).

Full story

Roaming regulation as adopted by the European Parliament

Press conference - Recorded version (23/5/2007 at 13.07 pm)

Roaming website

Roaming animations