The European Commission (EC) has announced that EU roaming charges will be scratched in June after proposed wholesale roaming price caps received final clearance from the European Parliament. *Take a moment to cheer*
What does that mean?
The fees, which were agreed by representatives from the European Council, European Parliament and the EC back in February, were finally given the thumbs up. The wholesale charges have been capped at €0.032 per minute for voice calls, €0.01 per SMS and €7.70 per GB of data used, a figure that will eventually fall to €2.50 per GB in 2022.
“After nearly ten years, the EU is now putting a definitive end to the roaming anxiety that has plagued Europe since the beginning of the mobile era,” said Brussels’ digital single market vice-president Andrus Ansip, he also proudly stated: “Exorbitant roaming prices were an anomaly in a continent where people move freely between countries. With the end of roaming charges for travellers, we will achieve a much more vibrant Digital Single Market. At last, people will be able to stop turning off their data or phones when they cross an EU border and this will have an immediate positive impact on the lives of Europeans.”
Does Brexit play a role?
The answer is yes, the UK could miss out on the benefits, depending on what agreements are reached following its anticipated exit from the EU in 2019. While the UK remains part of the EU consumers will benefit from the reduced rates. However, once we formally leave the EU as per the Brexit vote, consumers can no longer expect to be covered by this deal. Which means that, we could face a substantial increase in our bills when using our phones abroad, unless separate deals can be agreed between the UK government and the European Union.