Citizens of member states of the European Union have broad rights to travel with ease around the EU, with 17 of them even using the same Euro currency. Likewise, trade within the EU is done with ease, due to the single European marketplace.
One area that the EU needs to reign in, however, is the telecommunications industry. The European Commission is seeking creating a single telecoms market across the bloc, which it says will benefit consumers by cutting costs.
One easy target is roaming fees, which the EU has been chipping away at for years. Roaming fees are the premium rates that you pay for use of mobile voice, SMS and data usage when travelling throughout the bloc. Since data usage over mobile networks increased with the rising popularity of smart phones, roaming fees brought about the bill shock phenomenon, where holidaymakers returned home to find they had excessively large phone bills.
The EU moved to impost EU-wide restrictions on data roaming fees, along with voice and messaging.
From Monday, July 1, the fees will drop again. Making calls can cost no more than 24c per minute while roaming within the EU, down from 29c, while receiving calls drops to a maximum of 7c per minute. Sending text messages has been cut to 8c from 9c, while receiving text messages is exempt from roaming fees.
Data could still cause quite a bill surprise though, with an megabyte of data costing up to 45 cents, down from 70 cents.
The long-term goal is to get rid of roaming fees entirely within the EU, as part of solidifying a single telecoms market. EU commissioner for digital agenda, Neelie Kroes, is hoping to do this within her term at her post, which ends in 18 months.
Written by: James Delahunty @ 28 Jun 2013 5:04