The telecoms ministers of the EU have rubber stamped a plan to slash the cost of using
mobile phones abroad within the 27-member bloc.
The European Commission said the mandatory caps imposed on roaming fees will cut prices to about a quarter of what citizens pay now.
But the package will only go into effect after the next official EU journal is published, so for those spending their summer away, it risks remaining expensive for many.
EU Telecoms Commissioner Viviane Reding: “The date of the publication will be the date of putting into practice the regulation. Then, within a month the operators will have to offer to all of their consumers the special euro tariffs and they can offer them even something better because you know the euro tariffs is a maximal ceiling.”
Brussels said this will protect the vast majority of ordinary customers who up to now have been heavily overcharged when travelling abroad.
The EU-wide maximum roaming tariff will now be 49 euro cents per minute for making calls abroad and 24 cents for receiving them, lower in the second year and falling to 43 and 19 cents in the third year.
The legislative measure is aiimed at delivering tangible benefits to EU citizens, after a long period during which it has been much criticised as being out of touch with their wants and needs.