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EU Parliament votes to end mobile phone roaming fees

EU Parliament votes to end mobile phone roaming fees
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The European Parliament has voted to end mobile phone roaming charges by late December of next year.

It will also stop telecoms operators from prioritising some internet traffic over others, doing things like blocking the free VOIP calling service Skype.

In addition the legislation will bolster consumer protections on mobile and broadband contracts and seek to make the sale of mobile licenses more uniform across Europe.

The moves will cheer the region’s mobile phone users and frustrate an industry which is looking for new sources of revenue.

Analysts believe telecoms revenues will fall around five percent without roaming fees, but the Commission has said people will use their mobiles more abroad as a result which will offset some of the impact.

The parliament’s measures on maintaining “net neutrality” means operators will be “barred from blocking or slowing down selected services for economic or other reasons”.

It could limit the ability of network operators to provide quicker internet access to bandwidth-hungry content providers such as Google or Netflix in exchange for a fee. Those kinds of agreements are becoming more common in the United States.

Operators are fighting for a share of the profits from video streaming and music downloads to offset declining revenues in their traditional phone services.