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Roaming rules to make EU cross-border mobile phone communication cheaper

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Roaming rules to make EU cross-border mobile phone communication cheaper

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Mobile texting abroad in the EU is about to become cheaper if Brussels gets its way. Telecoms plans approved by the European Commission extend rules cutting roaming costs — mobile phone communication across borders.

The industry is citing concern, saying its rates are already coming down without EU intervention. The mobile operators’ lobby GSM says roaming revenues account for up to 15 percent of their total.

Last year’s text messages in the EU were already worth 800 million euros, and the Commission defended its move saying cheaper services will boost use, so companies will earn more over time.

The roaming draft rules needing the European Parliament’s and member states’ approval include: A price cap of 11 euro cents per text message compared with today’s average 28 cents, plus a cap of 1 euro per megabyte for data downloading, which can be as much as four euros today.

Consumers would also see per-second rather than per-minute billing, and a 43 cent-per-minute cap on voice calls is set to come down further.