EU regulation slashes mobile roaming rates

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EU regulation slashes mobile roaming rates

Expects growth in market.

Mobile device roaming will be substantially cheaper for European subscribers as new regulation to lower rates kicks in.

The European Union's Roaming Regulation takes effect on July 1 and drops data roaming, call and SMS rates across the trading bloc.

According to figures from the European Commission, data download charges will be limited to 0.45 euro per megabyte (A$0.62 per MB), down 36 percent  from last year. It will cost 0.24 euro to make calls and 0.07 euro to receive them, down 17 and 12.5 percent respectively, and SMS messages will see an eleven per cent drop to 0.08 euro each. 

The Commission noted that providers are free to charge less for roaming if they wished and said some had already started to remove charges for travellers altogether.

Commenting on the reductions, the vice president of the European Commission Neelie Kroes said: "The latest price cuts put more money in your pocket for summer, and are a critical step towards getting rid of these premiums once and for all.

This is good for both consumers and companies, because it takes fear out of the market, and it grows the market."

Calls and data roaming rates have dropped over eighty per cent since 2007, the Commission claimed. Meanwhile, the Commission's figures showed the data roaming market has grown 630 percent in volume.

The Australian and New Zealand governments have announced they will work together to cut the high cost of trans-Tasman mobilel roaming, following a joint market investigation.

A final report [PDF] into trans-Tasman roaming was published in February this year, recommending market intervention with regulated terms of access at the wholesale level, including price caps for providers and retail charges.

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