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EU votes to scrap mobile phone roaming charges across Europe

EU votes to scrap mobile phone roaming charges across Europe

Britons can it seems finally look forward to the day when using their phone in Europe doesn’t come with ruinously expensive fees attached, after the European Parliament voted to scrap roaming charges.

The mooted change in the law, which requires approval from EU governments, could come in to force as early as December 2015 and means that making a call or surfing the web will be charged at the same rate as in the UK.

It comes after years of controversy over customers who inadvertently racked up huge bills for downloading data while overseas, as well as a gradual decrease in maximum fees enforced across the Continent.

Britons currently pay a maximum of 39p per MB of data. That’s down from 60p in 2012.

Ernest Doku, mobile expert at uSwitch, said: "The death of roaming charges can't come soon enough. Brits abroad already have limited protection from post-holiday bill shock within the EU but, even so, our research shows that 12% of UK mobile customers have fallen foul of roaming charges in Europe - averaging £120 each on top of their typical monthly bills.

"Technically, this move means foreign mobile networks could start to chase British custom, which could mean cheaper deals due to stiffer competition.

“Good news for mobile customers, not such good news for mobile networks, who will see their bottom lines impacted and could attempt to claw back the shortfall by raising bills across the board.”

However, he warned that while a much longed-for change has finally been enacted in Europe, high charges for mobile use still apply in many parts of the world.

“British holidaymakers still need to be extremely careful as there is relatively little protection against roaming outside the EU.

“Anyone taking their mobiles abroad should always check before they travel to find out the costs, and what they can do to reduce them,” Doku said.

Mobile networks are expected to lose about 5% of their annual revenue once roaming fees are scrapped.

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