Cost of texting abroad for Europeans is lowered

The European Commission has announced that as of today, July 1, customers roaming in another EU Member State will not only benefit from lower prices for making and receiving calls but also for texting when abroad and using data services.

The Commission has introduced the following rules for providers in the EU:

  • Limit the price for sending a text message while abroad at €0.11 (9.4p). Receiving an SMS in another EU country will remain free of charge.
  • Reduced cost of surfing the web and downloading movies or video programs with a mobile phone while abroad by introducing a maximum tariff of €1 (86p) per megabyte downloaded. This limit will be decreased each year.
  • The new rules will also protect consumers from "bill shocks" by introducing a cut-off mechanism once the bill reaches €50 (£42.93), unless they choose another cut-off limit (recently, a German downloading a TV programme while roaming in France faced a bill of €46,000 (£39,500). Operators have until March 2010 to put this cut-off limit in place.
  • Reduced prices for mobile roaming calls with a maximum tariff of €0.43 (36.9p) for making a call and €0.19 (16.3p) for receiving one.
"The roaming-rip off is now coming to an end thanks to the determined action of the European Commission, the European Parliament and all 27 EU Member States," said EU Telecoms Commissioner Viviane Reding.

Also, mobile operators have been forced to charge for calls by the second after the first half minute, instead of rounding up to the nearest minute.

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