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Britons travelling within the EU are now benefitting from a new directive that enforces a cap on the amount networks can charge roaming customers, putting an end to the bill shocks that have seen some consumers facing thousands of pounds in unforeseen charges.

The rules came into effect from the beginning of July and mean that any network provider in the EU will not be able to bill phone users more than 32p a minute for voice calls.

Inbound calls will cost a maximum of around 12p a minute and texts will be free to receive.

Those who are travelling abroad and forget that data usage will be much steeper in price will be protected from high charges by a daily price cap of £42, which they will have to actively opt out of should they wish to continue browsing.

In the name of flexibility, consumers can also pick their own usage cap and alerts will be sent when they hit 80 per cent of the allotted data cost.

Providers had taken complaints about the data spending caps to the courts, but they lost their battle in June. This is significant as each MB of usage when roaming will cost an average of £3 and this is rarely covered by any price plan, so the unwary can easily accumulate huge bills.

Ceri Stanway of Which? magazine commented: "The cost of calls, texts and mobile internet remains high compared to using your mobile in the UK. Make sure you know the charges and only spend what you can afford.

"Bear in mind that the roaming regulation only applies in EU countries. Venture further afield and you still have no protection against running up bills of hundreds or even thousands of pounds."

Non EU nations retain relatively high call and mobile internet prices, with some calls costing more than £1 per minute and 1MB of data priced at £8.

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