EU roaming rates slashed from July

New rules introduced by the European Union (EU) mean the cost of using mobile services when travelling between EU countries will fall from the beginning of this week.

Prices for making calls look set to fall by up to 17% a minute, with those for receiving calls dropping by 11% a minute, while the cost of sending a text message will come down by around 11%.

The biggest cuts, however, are to the cost of using mobile data services.

New rules introduced by the European Union (EU) mean the cost of using mobile services when travelling between EU countries will fall from the beginning of this week.

Prices for making calls look set to fall by up to 17% a minute, with those for receiving calls dropping by 11% a minute, while the cost of sending a text message will come down by around 11%.

The biggest cuts, however, are to the cost of using mobile data services.

Measures coming into effect will lower prices by as much as 36%, compared with rates in 2012, to €0.45 ($0.59) for downloading a megabyte of data.

From July 1 2014, the fee will be further reduced to just €0.20 for downloading a megabyte.

“The EU has to be relevant to people’s lives,” said EU commissioner Neelie Kroes in a statement. “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,” she said.

According to Kroes, data roaming fees are now 91% lower than in 2007, with overall roaming rates around 80% less than six years ago.

Although Kroes has given incumbent operators some assurances on broadband regulation and the need for an investment-friendly environment, she has been almost as ruthless as her predecessor Viviane Reding when it comes to roaming rates.

Kroes has expressed strong support for the notion of a single European telecoms market in which roaming charges would be a thing of the past and consumers would be able to subscribe to services from an operator based in another EU country.

Meanwhile, national regulatory authorities continue to clobber the incumbents on mobile termination rates and other interconnection charges.

The majority of Europe’s leading operators have blamed a mixture of EU and national regulation for disappointing financial results in recent quarters.