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A campaign to completely remove roaming charges has floundered, leaving customers facing high fees for overseas usage for years to come.

Neelie Kores, Commissioner of the Digital Agenda, was spearheading a bid to scrap the charges by 2015, which had left thousands of Britons facing unexpectedly high bills after using their phone in the EU.

However, MEPs have rejected the bid and have instead called for cuts to the charges. These are set to follow earlier reductions that have seen the cost difference between roaming and domestic calls fall by three quarters since 2007.

The decision has prompted a slanging match between Kores and carriers, who had argued that scrapping the fees would reduce investment capital earmarked for improving networks.

Ernest Doku, mobile expert at uSwitch, nonetheless welcomed additional cuts which he said will continue to improve consumers’ lot.

He said: "Consumers who feel they've been paying over the odds for years for using their mobiles abroad will appreciate these latest reductions in roaming charges, particularly the proposed cuts in the wholesale price of data.

"Reduction of data prices will hopefully stimulate competition amongst providers, eventually feeding down to cheaper roaming charges for the average mobile user.

"At the moment, mobile phone users are often advised to switch off their data roaming when they travel abroad. With consumers more accustomed to accessing the web whenever and wherever they are, the whole area of costly data charges within the EU needed to be addressed.”

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