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BRUSSELS , Oct. 27 (Xinhua) -- Members of the European Parliament Wednesday have voted through a complete ban on roaming charges for using mobile phones abroad in the European Union (EU). The long-awaited ban will take effect in June 2017.

"Roaming fees for calling, sending text messages and using the mobile internet abroad in the EU (and in EEA countries) will be banned from 15 June 2017," it said in a statement after the vote.


The vote sees the deal reached between European authorities in June to end roaming charges within the EU passed into law.

"This abolition of roaming surcharges has been long awaited by everybody: ordinary people, start-ups, SMEs and all kinds of organisations," said the rapporteur , Pilar del Castillo in the European Parliament.

The European Commission presented its proposal for a telecoms single market, Connected Continent, in September 2013, in which it pledged to push roaming premiums out of the market.

The European Parliament voted on the draft legislation in April 2014 and set Dec. 15 2015 the deadline of ending roaming charges within the EU countries.

However, concerning about the financial impact on their national telecoms groups, ministers of EU national governments blocked the ban through the European Council in March 2015.

After another round of tough negotiations between the three institutions , namely the European Council, the European Commission and the European Parliament, a compromise was finally reached in June this year.

The new law is warmly welcomed by the European Commission, who said the crucial agreement to finally end roaming charges is a significant achievement toward the digital single market.

"Today's agreement shows that the European Union can deliver tangible results to improve the daily life of Europeans," EU commissioner Gunther Oettinger, in charge of the Digital Economy and Society , said in a statement on the new law.

"Roaming charges will be soon old memories," he said, adding that "digital challenges need strong action at European level, and we should continue in this direction to create a Digital Single Market."


According to the new law, roaming prices will be cheaper from April 2016.

"Operators will only be able to charge a small additional amount to domestic prices up to 0.05 euros per minute of call made, 0.02 euros per SMS sent , and 0.05 euros per MB of data," the statement said.

This maximum roaming charge is about 25 percent of the current roaming caps for calls made and data, and 33 percent of the current roaming cap for SMS.

The European Commission said prices that consumers pay for roaming across calls; SMS and data have decreased by over 80 percent since 2007.

Particularly, for data roaming, the price is now up to 91 percent cheaper compared to 2007 though the volume of the data roaming market has grown by 630 percent.

Before the new law take effect, the EU said it will set a lower cap on charges for incoming voice calls later this year.

However , the EU said it is not possible to have an earlier date than mid-2017 to end roaming charges.

"A number of steps have to be taken in order to make the end of roaming charges sustainable throughout the EU," the European Commission said in the statement, noting that the prices that operators charge each other for the use of their networks needs to be thoroughly reviewed before the end date.


Huge telephone bills ruining your holiday budget, an Internet connection not delivering on its promises: these experiences will be soon old memories, the European Commission said on the new law.

The increasing numbers of Europeans who travel in the EU are the primary beneficiaries.

From June 15, 2017 , Europeans can use their mobile device when travelling in the EU paying the same prices as at home. And for foreign visitors travelling among the EU countries, this will also lower their budget if they use a SIM card provided by European operators.

For instance, if you pay for a monthly volume of minutes, SMS and data in a European country, any voice call, SMS and data session you make while travelling to other countries in the EU will be deducted from that volume with no extra charges.

The European Commission said the measure will also create a better environment for businesses and for innovation.

Roaming charges currently teach users to switch off their mobile phone when abroad. If they are not afraid of their bills anymore , they will use their devices more regularly when they are travelling -- this means more opportunities for online businesses and start-ups to provide services to consumers when they travel in the EU.

Moreover, the new rules will notably promote the cross-border use of connected devices and services (e.g. connected cars) and boost the evolution of mobile apps, on which 1 million Europeans now work, the European Commission said.

"Today's achievement is a first step towards a Telecoms Single Market," said the Vice-President of the European Commission, Andrus Ansip , responsible for the Digital Single Market.

"This is not only about money; this is about bringing down barriers in the Digital Single Market," he said.

However, the abolishment of roaming charges was not met with universal approval. Some concerned that lower prices for jet-setters will mean higher domestic prices.

If the talks drag on the next step of further reform, the process of roaming charge removal may be delayed again.

"More work will need to be done to overcome national silos and address challenges such as spectrum coordination. We will go further as early as next year with an ambitious overhaul of EU telecoms rules. We count on the support of the European Parliament and member states to make this happen It doesn't matter wha.

Lun 16 Avr - 05:26 (2018)

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Lun 16 Avr - 05:26 (2018)
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