EU mobile 'bill shock' rules come into force

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EU mobile 'bill shock' rules come into force

Operators create $75 ceiling.

European holiday makers and business travellers will be able to set their own roaming charge limits from today.

New rules from the European Union will force mobile phone companies to create a ceiling for mobile phone charges, saving people from coming home to unexpectedly high bills.

"Protection against data roaming bill shocks is a useful step towards building customers' confidence to use mobile networks to surf the internet when travelling around Europe. Such confidence is essential if people and businesses are to use the internet to its full potential," said digital agenda commissioner Neelie Kroes.

The EU highlighted two cases from last year, one involving a German traveller who watched a TV programme and ran up a bill of £40,000 ($66,640), and a UK student who ran up a bill of £8,000 ($13,328) in a month of roaming abroad.

Under the new regulations mobile firm companies must offer a monthly cut off limit of €50 ($75.38), and users will be sent a warning when they reach 80 per cent of their chosen limit.

Customers need to make a deliberate choice in order to benefit from a cut-off limit until 1 July 2010. Those who do not make a choice by this date will have the cut-off limit set at €50 ($75.38) by default.

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