The European Union has clinched a preliminary deal with telecom operators to cap wholesale charges, paving the way for the abolition of roaming fees.
The abolition of roaming charges has moved a step closer.
The European Union has reached a preliminary deal with telecom operators on limiting how much the operators pay each other when their customers use their mobile phones abroad.
It is the last element needed to end roaming charges. That is is due to happen in mid June of this year.
The deal covers the use of mobile internet as well as calls and texts.
Brussels has been slowly moving forward for the last 10 years with a plan to allow people to use their phones abroad without paying extra.
Difficult to satisfy all markets
It has been difficult to find a agreement that takes into account the wide differences in domestic prices and the way people use their phones across the European Union.
Countries in northern and eastern Europe – where consumers access a lot of mobile data at low prices – favoured lower wholesale caps to avoid companies raising prices in their home markets. That would effectively mean poorer customers subsidising frequent travellers.
However countries in the south which get a lot of tourist visitors worried that their operators could be forced to hike domestic prices to recover the costs of accommodating the extra tourist traffic.
The deal still has to be confirmed by the full European Parliament and member states.