Cell Phone Roaming Costs Slashed For Calls, Data In Europe

In a bold move to promote competition and cheaper service for consumers, the E.U. has forced its phone networks to slash roaming call charges by at least 17%.

The European government has forced cell phone networks in the region to dramatically reduce the cost of smartphone roaming between nations. Starting today, the cost of making a roaming call must drop by at least 17% as compared to 2012 prices. Receiving a call will cost 12% less. SMS messages are cheaper too, costing 11% less.

Most importantly, and in a sign that the E.U. thinks data roaming fees are an unacceptable barrier to business, the cost of roaming data also falls by 36%—down to just €0.45 per MB. The European Commission notes that this makes data roaming "up to 91% cheaper in 2013 compared to 2007. During this period the volume of the data roaming market has grown 630%." The iPhone, which debuted in 2007, has long been considered to have driven the increase in mobile web use.

While the cuts are enforced, "operators are free to offer cheaper rates." Some cell phone operators have started seeing the E.U. as one region, and some "have already begun to remove roaming premiums altogether for voice and SMS, or offer a roaming-free area region across one section of Europe or another."

The push is part of a bigger move to make the industry more agile, innovative, and consumer friendly. In July 2014, roaming fees will fall to zero.

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  • grayson

    It is incredibly frustrating to see governments unnecessarily involving themselves in economic markets like this.  If roaming charges were too high, people would (and do) find ways around these (i.e. Viber), thus lowering the demand and forcing telecom companies to lower prices and compete for these customers.  The article even stated that some of these mobile service providers are treating the entire EU as one state and dissolving roaming fees altogether.  Competition is such a beautiful thing!