Voting stalls on EU roaming charges

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Voting stalls on EU roaming charges

Countries can't agree price or how soon it comes into effect.

A vote on reducing the charges for mobile phone roaming has been delayed by a week as the two opposing sides struggle to reach a compromise.  

The European Commission had debated the proposals for two days without reaching an agreement on the charges and whether they should be available to everyone or only customers who request them. 

But in a compromise, the Commission agreed to give telecoms operators a few months' grace before any new regulations automatically apply.

Operators will be forced to inform their customers of the lower tariffs and ask whether they would like to be charged at that rate.

After three months, any consumers who have not responded will be switched over to the new rate automatically.

That could see telecoms operators earn hundreds of millions of euros in the intervening period.

The rescheduled initial vote is now expected to take place in the week beginning 21 May.

Viviane Reding, EU Commissioner for Information Society and Media, had hoped for the lower charges to come into force following the first full vote in June. 

Joseph Muscat, of the EU's Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee, said: "Our major concession is that we are ready to give operators time before the euro tariff applies automatically. That is the only concession we can give."
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