It has just become much cheaper to use your mobile phone when travelling in the European Union as Brussels forced the telecoms companies to further reduce roaming charges.
The costliest use – surfing the internet on your smartphone – is now just a fifth of what it was in 2007 when the EU’s telecoms commissioner started targeting such charges.
Calls made away from your home country are now limited to 19 euro cents a minute, down from 24 cents. It is five cents a minute to receive them – previously it was seven cents.
Texts fall from eight to six cents each, while using the internet in another EU country now costs travellers a maximum of 20 cents per megabyte, compared with 45 cents before.
Countries charge different levels of value added tax on top of that.
Consumers are also allowed to choose a local mobile provider for data services when travelling in the EU, allowing them to compare various offers.
The timing of the roaming cuts, at the start of the summer holiday season, is part of the European Commission’s efforts to appear consumer-friendly, especially as anti-EU sentiment is on the rise in many countries.
Brussels would like to entirely eliminate roaming charges by the end of this year, but first needs all EU governments to agree to the European Commission’s plans to overhaul the telecoms market.
The cuts apply in 28 EU countries, plus Iceland, Norway and Lichtenstein.