New lower price caps for mobile roaming from 1 July
The European Union (EU) has announced it is lowering data download tariff price caps for mobile device users roaming in Europe.
From 1 July 2013, the EU Roaming Regulation will lower the price caps for data downloads by 36%, making it much cheaper to use maps, watch videos, check emails and update social networks while travelling across the EU.
Data roaming will now be up to 91% cheaper in 2013 compared to 2007. During this period the volume of the data roaming market has grown 630%. These two trends mean both consumers and mobile operators have significant new opportunities thanks to EU efforts, the EU stated.
The new prices caps, which enter into force on 1st July 2013, are: downloading data or browsing the Internet – 45 cents per MB (charged per Kilobyte used) + VAT. (36% reduction compared to 2012); making calls – 24 cents per minute + VAT (17% reduction compared to 2012); receiving a call – 7 cents per minute + VAT (12.5% reduction compared to 2012); sending a text message – 8 cents + VAT (11% reduction compared to 2012).
Operators are free to offer cheaper rates the EU stated, and some have already begun to remove roaming premiums altogether for voice and SMS, or offer a roaming-free area region across one section of Europe or another.
Commission vice president, Neelie Kroes said: 'The EU has to be relevant to people's lives. The latest price cuts put more money in your pocket for summer, and are a critical step towards getting rid of these premiums once and for all. This is good for both consumers and companies, because it takes fear out of the market, and it grows the market.'
Each year, Europeans make several million visits to Croatia, which joins the EU on 1 July. This year visitors to Croatia will experience savings as the cost for data decreases almost 15 times and sending an SMS or making a phone call elsewhere in the EU will be 10 times cheaper.
The EU has achieved retail price reductions across calls, SMS and data of over 80% since 2007, it claimed.