European Parliament Vote To End Roaming Charges In Europe

Starting June 15th, travelers to the EU will be able to use their mobile phones without being subjected to expensive roaming charges, as the European Parliament voted on Thursday to approve an agreement which ends them. The plans faced fierce opposition from network operators who claimed their profitability would be "unduly harmed" when they were officially announced in 2015. The high costs of using a mobile device in Europe were a result of networks charging travelers to use their services while abroad, but an agreement was finally reached in February which means that the costs will be shared between operators. The end of roaming charges means that the worry for consumers facing a huge bill upon the return home - many rack up bills without even realizing they will face such charges - is gone.

The Vice-President for the Single Digital Market, Andrus Ansip said of Thursday's vote, "I welcome today's positive vote of the European Parliament on wholesale roaming prices, following the agreement reached between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission at the beginning of the year. This is a great achievement for all of us."

As of June 15th, 2017, making calls, sending texts, and using data will cost the same in every EU country. All contracts which allow data roaming will automatically switch to the new contract, which is known as "roam like at home." The rules state that as long as you spend less time abroad than you do at home you will pay the normal rates for using your device. Carriers have warned that they will contact consumers who violate this and ask them to "clarify the situation." Those who have a mobile phone contract that offers unlimited minutes and texts will be able to use those anywhere in the EU. With regards to data, a "fair use" policy will apply to anyone who has a cheap or unlimited data plan. It is thought that consumers from the UK will only be able to take advantage of this agreement for approximately two years until Britain leaves the EU. The plan to scrap the charges hasn't yet been formally approved by the European Parliament and all Member States, although this is expected to occur fairly soon.

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Alexa Ward

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