Hoorah. Its official. Roaming charges are on their way out. The previously iniquitous system by which mobile phone operators caught out the unwary and charged extortionate prices to its customers for making calls abroad is coming to an end. And not before time. But hold the line. This very welcome move won’t come into force until 2017!
Members of the European parliament have (finally) voted through new rules that will scrap mobile roaming charges and and will hopefully then stop holidaymakers returning home to the nightmare of a massive phone bill racked up on their travels.
The new legislation takes effect from June 15th 2017, at which time, mobile phone users will pay the same price to make calls, send text messages or download data wherever they are in the EU. Although 2017 seems a long way off, from April next year, roaming fees will be capped at 3p above the the local rates for calls, 1p for texts and 3p per MB for data.
The campaign to abolish these charges started over ten years ago and represents, according to its supporters , a ‘massive win’ for the consumer and comes amidst much foot dragging by member states who feared for the financial impact this move would have on their national telecommunications providers.
One-fifth of UK mobile users travelling to the EU last year have faced higher than usual bills for using their phones, which collectively amounted to £573m, (according to data from Uswitch). The average charge added to bills was £61, while 17% of users faced bills of £100 or more.
The only losers in this move – apart from the aforementioned national telecoms groups – presumably, will be the Daily Mail headline writers who will now have to look elsewhere for their stories. No more will we be able to read stories such as “Mother, 40, hit with £20,000 mobile phone bill after using the internet in Turkey to put her holiday pictures on Facebook” or “ ‘My life is over:’ Shock at $200,000 phone bill in ROAMING charges – after holiday texting bonanza”.
We’re sure they’ll find something else to write about. After all, 2017 is still two years away.