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Commission Vice-president welcomes positive EP vote on wholesale roaming prices
European Commission Vice-president for the Digital Single Market, Andrus Ansip, welcomed the vote earlier today with which the European Parliament endorsed the agreement reached in February on wholesale roaming prices, the prices that mobile operators charge each other when customers use other networks while traveling abroad. This agreement reduces prices by more than a third for voice calls, by half for text messages and by 85% for data. It paves the way for roaming charges to end in two months time, on 15 June.
Vice-president Ansip said:
"After nearly ten years, the EU is now putting a definitive end to the roaming anxiety that has plagued Europe since the beginning of the mobile era. Exorbitant roaming prices were an anomaly in a continent where people move freely between countries. With the end of roaming charges for travellers, we will achieve a much more vibrant Digital Single Market. At last, people will be able to stop turning off their data or phones when they cross an EU border and this will have an immediate positive impact on the lives of Europeans."
Vice-president Ansip statement full text
The agreement on wholesale roaming prices introduces caps for them – for voice-calls 3.2 euro cents per minute (2.7 pence), a 36% decrease, for text messages 1 euro cent (0.8 pence) per message, a 50% decrease, and €7.7 (£6.6 ) per GB data, a decrease of 85%. The prices for data will gradually decrease further to €2.5 per GB by 2022.
These new wholesale prices ensure that the end of roaming charges is put on a sustainable footing for both telecoms companies and for consumers. The new wholesale caps mean that individual operators are not put in a disadvantage by a significant gap between wholesale prices and the cost of what their customer use abroad. They also protect consumers by making sure that if they exceed their contract limits while roaming, any additional charges will be no higher than the wholesale roaming caps agreed.
The Council of ministers is expected to also formally approve the agreement on wholesale roaming prices later this year. This is the last legislative step needed to make possible the end of roaming charges from 15 June. From that date when people travel abroad, but within the EU, they will be able to use their mobile phones without incurring extra charges. Their usage abroad will be counted towards the allowances for which they pay under their domestic contract.
The Commission will provide a preliminary assessment of the wholesale market by 15 December 2018 and will carry out a full review by the end of 2019.
Frequently asked questions on how the end of roaming charges will work in practice.
Amounts expressed in sterling are for illustration purposes only.