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Europeans hail scraping of mobile phones roaming charges across the EU

Effective yesterday, Thursday, June 15, 2017, the European Union (EU) scrapped roaming charges. The policy followed a vote passed in the European Parliament in February indicating that EU citizens won’t be charged extra for calls, SMS messages or internet outside their home countries, when travelling in the EU. The lawmakers were silent on mobile phone users from other continents.

However, industry analysts are divided on data pricing floor in EU because of the complex nature of the new agreement.

This is because different data services providers in EU are offering far different pricing template and internet bundles are very different.

However, for people on EE, EU data is capped at 15GB per month and if a monthly allowance is usually below this then extra will have to be paid for. There are three users’ caps in place according to dandles including 12GB (pay monthly) and 9GB (pay as you go).

O2 and Vodafone there is no data cap for monthly subscription or business customers.

Besides, wholesale prices for calls will be capped at 3.2 cents per minute, an SMS will be 1 cent and data will be capped at €7.7 per GB. That rate will gradually fall to €2.5 per GB by January 1, 2022. Operators will still have to pay a charge.

The wholesale cap, announced in February, was the final piece of the roaming puzzle that will enable people to move freely around the European Union without paying any extra to use their phone. Those on a mobile contract in an EU country will be able to use their available allowance of calls, texts and data as they would in their home country while pay-as-you-go customers will pay the same rate regardless of what EU country they are in.

EU negotiators have been working to put an end to roaming charges for nearly a decade. Since 2007, prices have fallen by more than 90 per cent. Many operators in the UK have started to remove roaming charges in certain countries, with three customers now able to use their allowance in 42 destinations.

In May 2016, Vodafone followed suit and launched fee-free roaming in 40 destinations.

The deal on wholesale fees is intended to ensure operators can continue to compete fairly across the EU. Customers who exceed the limits of their contract or allowance while roaming will also not be charged any more than the wholesale caps. Reviews of the caps will be made by the end of 2019.

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