Holidaymakers should see their mobile-phone bills reduced this summer after Parliament backed a compromise reached with member states on the disputed roaming regulation but operators said the move was driven by a "populist agenda".

In a plenary vote held on 23 May, MEPs backed a compromise text, reached with the Council, that would cut charges on mobile phone calls placed and received abroad. According to the compromise, roaming tariffs will be lowered in three steps: 

  • Outgoing calls will be capped at €0.49 cent (€0.24 for incoming calls) immediately after the regulation is published in the Official Journal; 
  • one year later (2008), the cap will be lowered to €0.46 (€0.22 for incoming calls), and; 
  • after another year (2009), it will be lowered again to €0.43 (€0.19 for incoming calls). 

At the same time, the wholesale rate that network operators charge each other to connect a call will be limited to €0.30 a minute in the first year and lowered to €0.26 in 2009. 

It was also agreed that operators will have to lower roaming tariffs for all users, not just those who have requested it, at the latest three months after the entry into force of the Regulation.