It seems like it’s been a long time coming, but the European Union is one step closer to slapping down international roaming charges for good. In fact, the European Parliament voted Thursday to end international roaming charges by Christmas 2015.
The next step is for individual European countries to review and agree on the regulation, which is expected to be finalised by the end of this year.
A “win-win” for companies and their customers
“This is what the EU is all about — getting rid of barriers to make life easier and less expensive,” said European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes in a statement. “Nearly all of us depend on mobile and internet connections as part of our daily lives. We should know what we are buying, we should not be ripped off, and we should have the opportunity to change our mind.
“Companies should have the chance to serve all of us, and this regulation makes it easier for them to do that. It’s win-win.”
This new regulation will help bring the EU closer together and assist customers in the region by giving them more money to spend on that relaxing vacation.
Naturally, carriers are not happy about these changes, and international roaming fees will likely rise if you decide to travel outside of Europe. Carriers will want to recoup some of the losses experienced in the EU, which means you won’t want to leave your home country without a global roaming SIM service by your side.
“British holidaymakers still need to be extremely careful as there is relatively little protection against roaming outside the EU,” warned industry expert Ernest Doku of comparison site uSwitch. “Anyone taking their mobile abroad should always check before they travel to find out the costs, and what they can do to reduce them.”
The EU is also looking to protect net neutrality across the continent.
“Internet traffic management is like a good referee in football”
“It is in no one’s interest to see overt control of internet traffic speeds and access pass too far into the hands of Europe’s handful of network operators,” said Guillermo Beltra of the European Consumer Organisation. “Net Neutrality is the buffer against such a scenario. It’s also a bulwark against a future ‘two-tier’ Internet of consumers paying premiums to access certain services, or operators prioritising their own content while degrading the speed of competitors. Internet traffic management is like a good referee in football — it’s needed in minor emergencies and should otherwise go unnoticed.”