Starting from July 1, mobile phone users will be able to use SIM-cards, watch videos, download pictures, check the status of their social network accounts and send e-mails much cheaper. The new EU regulation provides for a price cap for data roaming – downloading data over the Internet on mobile networks.
The new data roaming regulation will allow businessmen, traveling around Europe, to save more than 1000 EUR per year. Projected savings for families that spend their annual vacations in other EU countries exceed 200 EUR. The new regulation will also reduce price caps for conversations and text messages, the European Commission reports.
In general, the improved EU regulations on data roaming – including conversations, text messages and data – reduce consumer expenses by 75%, compared with 2007 prices. It is expected that Europeans will pay 5 billion EUR for roaming services this year; i.e., by around 15 billion less than if they were required to pay for the same services according to prices before the first EU roaming regulations in 2007.
«Price cap on data roaming is an important step for the smartphone era. Nowhere else in EU it will be allowed to charge inappropriate prices. The EU has managed to achieve that more and more money initially meant for paying for mobile services is left in the wallets of EU citizens,»- Deputy Chairman of the European Commission Neelie Kroes notes.
The new price cap, which is set to become in force on July 1, 2012, is as follows: 29 cents per minute for outgoing calls, 8 cents per minute for incoming calls, 9 cents for text messages and 70 cents per MB for downloads or internet surfing while abroad. All prices are stated without VAT rates.
In July 2009, many roaming operators demanded more than four EUR per MB; from now on these prices will be six times lower. With the continued reduction of prices, in 2014 the price cap for downloads will be only 20 cents per MB plus VAT; therefore, by 90% lower than many current tariffs.
Operators can offer lower prices. Price limit is the maximum allowed level, which serves as a precautionary measure, but the influence of competitiveness in prices should fall even lower.
Additionally, starting from July 1, those people traveling outside of the EU will receive a warning text message, e-mail or a popup window that the fee for downloads is nearing 50 EUR or some other previously stated level. It will help avoid any unpleasant surprises when receiving an invoice. To continue data roaming, the user will need to confirm that he wants to exceed this level. This rule widens the current EU warning system.
The first EU roaming price cap regulation became in force in 2007, when mobile phone users around the EU started paying similar roaming tariffs.