European lawmakers have finally agreed on a deal to cap the wholesale charges mobile operators charge each other to allow customers to use their phones whilst roaming in the EU. The motion has been described as the ‘last piece of the puzzle’ in moving towards a total abolition of roaming charges in the EU on 15th June 2017.
Representatives from the European Parliament, Council and Commission agreed on the following wholesale caps:
- 3.2 cents per minute of voice call as of 15th June 2017
- 1 cent per SMS as of 15th June 2017
- A step-by-step reduction over five years for data caps decreasing from 7.70€ per GB (as of 15th June 2017) to 6.00€ per GB (as of 1st January 2018), 4.50€ per GB (as of 1st January 2019), 3.50€ per GB (as of 1st January 2020), 3.00€ per GB (as of 1st January 2021) and 2.50€ per GB (as of 1st January 2022)
According to the European Commission: “For a decade, the Commission has been working to reduce and ultimately end the surcharges that telecoms operators imposed on their customers each time they crossed a border while using their mobile device on holiday or during business trips. Since 2007, roaming prices have decreased by more than 90%. In 2015, and based on a proposal of the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council agreed to end roaming charges for people travelling periodically in the EU. The Telecoms Single Market Regulation entrusted the Commission with the task of reviewing the wholesale roaming markets and making appropriate proposals before 15th June 2016, in order to enable the abolition of retail roaming charges from 15th June 2017.”
Mr Andrus Ansip, Vice-President for the Digital Single Market, has welcomed the agreement: "This was the last piece of the puzzle. As of 15th June, Europeans will be able to travel in the EU without roaming charges. We have also made sure that operators can continue competing to provide the most attractive offers to their home markets. Today we deliver on our promise. I warmly thank the European Parliament rapporteur Miapetra Kumpula-Natri and all the negotiators from the European Parliament as well as the Maltese Presidency of the Council of the EU and all those involved in achieving this milestone. Their efforts made it happen”.