Brussels' attempts to slash the cost of using a mobile phone abroad before the start of the summer holidays came a step closer to success after EU countries and MEPs successfully hammered out a compromise deal following months of strenuous negotiations.

Holidaymakers could see their mobile-phone bills decrease this summer if EU member states and the full Parliament give their approval to a compromise reached on 15 May between a delegation of MEPs and the Council Presidency. 

After several rounds of tough negotiations, a compromise was agreed that would see annually staged cuts, over three years, in charges on calls placed and received abroad. 

Initially, the cost of making a call would be set at €0.49, while it would cost just €0.24 to receive a call. The prices would then fall to €0.43 for outgoing calls and €0.19 for incoming calls in 2009. 

The wholesale rate that network operators charge each other to connect a call would be limited to €0.30 a minute in the first year and go down to €0.26 in 2009. 

If adopted, the preliminary deal would come into effect in July and all customers would see the new tariffs apply automatically three months later – or earlier, if they request them during this transition period.