EU reaches early deal to scrap roaming fees

EU reaches early deal to scrap roaming fees

The European Union (EU) has provisionally agreed to abolish roaming charges across the region by June 2017.

The agreement will cover all 28 member states and enable users to use their voice, text and data allowance in any EU country at no extra charge.

“Under the agreement, roaming surcharges in the European Union will be abolished as of June 15, 2017,” said Lativa – which holds the rotating EU presidency – in a statement.

12 hours of talks allegedly preceded the agreement, which will now require approval from the European Parliament and EU member states.

The abolishment agreement follows months of delays and goes against reports from the EU in January this year, claiming that mobile operators would be able to levy roaming charges until 2018.

The deal will also require European operators to treat all internet traffic fairly, and blocking will only be allowed for certain reasons such as counter cyber-attacks.

EU members have been divided over their stance on the abolishment with some Eastern European countries fearing that national operators might increase domestic prices as a result.

“EU roaming premiums are on their way out and reducing mobile operators’ revenues with them,” said Mark Windle, head of marketing at OpenCloud.

“In order to compete effectively in the marketplace, operators need to add tangible value to their LTE services. Adding further value to their communication services could be the differentiator that operators need to win market share.”

In December 2013, Three stopped charging its customers extra to use their mobile phones in the US, as part of a bid to end roaming fees in other countries worldwide. 

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