Europe to put an end to outlandish roaming charges

Europe to put an end to outlandish roaming charges
Up until now international roaming has been the gold mine for carriers all across the world with outlandish charges bringing huge profits to carriers. This will come to an end in Europe this summer as the European Union reached a preliminary deal to drop roaming charges significantly, capping the rates for voice calls, text messages and data for users.

The new legislation requires carriers in the Old Continent to charge not more than:

- $0.38 (0.29 euro) per minute of outgoing voice calls
- $0.11 (0.08 euro) per minute of incoming voice calls
- $0.12 (0.09 euro) for a text message
- $0.93 (0.70 euro) per megabyte of data

The price caps will come into force this summer, but they will become more aggressive in the coming years and prices will drop by another third in 2014.

Compared to the US where AT&T charges the unthinkable $19.99 for a single megabyte of data and $0.50 for messages, this is a different world.

“Consumers are fed up with being ripped off by high roaming charges," EC Vice President Neelie Kroes said. "The new roaming deal gives us a long-term structural solution, with lower prices, more choice and a new smart approach for data and Internet browsing. The benefits will be felt in time for the summer break - and by summer 2014, people can shop around for the best deal."

International roaming has often been in the headlines with people paying thousands of dollars by incident and long legal battles with carriers, but the real profit for carriers seems to come from numerous cases that weren’t reported where users had to pay significant (yet not newsworthy) couple of hundreds of dollars for roaming.

Carriers including Europe’s biggest like Telefonica and Telecom Italia fiercely opposed the deal, virtually confirming that this digs directly in their profits. The GSMA associations representing carriers also said the caps went too far. 

The deal should get the final stamp of approval in May. Do you think such harsh regulation should be introduced in the US as well? Let us know below.




1. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

I'm never one for statist interference in the free market, but international roaming is f**king ridiculous. Voice networks are virtually all in place, the few thousands to millions of turistas milling about on international networks won't break them. The per megabyte charge is still unbelievable, as the average usage for a smartphone user ranges in the 600 megabyte area per month, which would be roughly 600 dollars of roaming charges.

6. exotica6279

Posts: 11; Member since: Mar 15, 2010

Nope if they you 600MB the charge is $11,994 dollars for that data that they use. If you get a data plan from AT&T to cover that it's 199.99 for 800MB of data, but the charge is prorated also there not charged the full amount and they get all the included data. Still .93 per MB is less than AT&T's current pay per use package which is $2/MB. So they might be able to set up some better plan once this goes in effect.

2. deacz

Posts: 162; Member since: Nov 02, 2011

tourist cant or have the time to "shop" around, and its stupid that they get ripped off. This is a great move forward.

3. dawolf

Posts: 23; Member since: Oct 14, 2011

hear hear

4. Beholder88

Posts: 86; Member since: Mar 30, 2012

I'm glad to see this happening. I work for a carrier here in the states, and you can hear the frustration over the phone when you tell a customer whose going on vacation what the possible charges could be. It's honestly a ripoff. over $20 per MB? Really?

5. exotica6279

Posts: 11; Member since: Mar 15, 2010

I always advised customer how to turn their data off on the phone directly and advised them to use wifi. My guess that Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, & T-mobile wont be effected by this change. If this happens it would be like the health Care bill to congress is to them. You'll see lobbyist working there ways into court to appeal "stating that it unconstitutional." I hope the States adopt this venture it would be very interesting to me to see how things go. The real question of the matter is will the UK bill pass. Politics are very complicated they might actually fight them on this because it effects their profits.

7. johnny9000

Posts: 50; Member since: Sep 10, 2011

Every US carrier charges incredible roaming rates, especially for data, but it's just as bad for voice in "less traveled" countries, and even with a international voice plan those country rates don't drop much (if at all). And then there is cruise ship roaming. There are no voice plans for cruise ships, you just pay out the butt if you make or receive calls while on one. The only advantage AT&T has over Verizon is that its cell phones work in a lot more countries than Verizon, but with those international rates I'm not sure I'd want my phone to work.

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