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Europe ends mobile roaming charges
November 8, 2015, 4:42 pm

Last week the European Parliament passed a law that will put an end to mobile roaming fees by 2017. The ban on roaming charges enjoyed broad support within the European Parliament, and was widely expected to pass. Under the measure, it will be illegal for telecoms to charge roaming fees for calls, text messages, and data as of 15 June, 2017. Consumers will instead pay the same rates they would in their home countries, and as of 30 April, 2016, roaming charges will be capped at €0.05 per minute for outgoing calls, €0.02 for texts, and €0.05 for every megabyte of data. A cap for incoming calls will be determined at a later date.

With this legislation, Europe will also become the only region in world which legally guarantees open internet and net neutrality, said Pilar del Castillo, a Spanish Member of Parliament and rapporteur of the debate. The principle of net neutrality will be applied directly in the 28 member states. It also ensures that we will not have a two-speed internet, he added.

However critics say the plan to place an end to roaming surcharges in Europe has been adopted pending a review of pricing and consumption patterns. They add that even if the review is completed by the 15 June 2017 deadline, roaming surcharges will only be suspended up to a 'fair use' limit beyond which they still apply and continue to hinder the breaking down of barriers within Europe.

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