Lawmakers agreed to cap the price of phone calls and SMS messages between EU countries and sealed a deal to encourage investment in fast internet networks during a late-night meeting on Wednesday (6 June).
MEPs in the European Parliament’s Industry Committee (ITRE) approved a sweeping telecoms bill on Monday (2 October) that watered down an EU proposal to spur network investment and added a controversial price cap on calls between member states.
The European Commission is claiming another victory after the first summer without mobile roaming fees inside the EU resulted in a surge of call and data use by travellers, according to a new Eurobarometer survey.
European mobile phone contracts are required to charge domestic rates for calls, SMS and data use when users travel in the EU starting today (15 June), capping off a ten-year fight to get rid of roaming fees.
The European Union clinched a preliminary deal early on Wednesday (31 January) to cap wholesale charges telecom operators pay each other when their customers use their mobile phones abroad, paving the way for the abolition of roaming fees in June.
The Council agreed on a solution to end roaming fees in 2017, while lessening the impact on mobile operators. But consumer organisations warned against operators hiking domestic prices as compensation.
Mobile telecoms operators across Europe could be allowed to charge each other higher fees for keeping customers connected when they travel abroad, under a Spanish proposal to help firms recoup their costs when roaming charges are abolished.
Mobile operators such as Vodafone and Orange would be allowed to continue levying roaming charges over the next three years, according to an EU document, defying European lawmakers' proposal to scrap the fees by the end of this year.
The elimination of roaming fees for using mobile phones EU countries could be delayed, in what would be a win for big European telecoms operators at the expense of consumers, according to a draft EU proposal.
In a rare show of unity, telecom firms large and small have rejected European Parliament plans to further lower price caps on mobile phone calls passed abroad – the so-called roaming regulation – saying it will squeeze out new competitors from the market.
Neelie Kroes, the EU's Digital Agenda Commissioner, is under intense pressure from member states that are threatening to delay or water down her proposal to abolish cross-border tariffs on mobile phone calls within Europe by 2016.