The European Union has announced that by June 2017 the mobile roaming charges will be removed. This decision was taken after two years of arrangements. On Tuesday Latvia, the country which holds the US presidency for now, has announced that around 15 June 2017 roaming charges will be abolished.
The European Parliament wanted to scrap the charges by the end of 2015, whereas the European Council wanted to keep them until the end of 2018. So as a golden mean the European lawmakers chose the year 2017. However until then the roaming charges will be reduced. By next summer a megabyte will be five cents, an SMS will be two cents and calls will be capped at five cents per minute.
This move is part of Europe’s initiative which started in 2013 and is known as Telecoms Single Market. The aim of this initiative is to increase the global competitiveness and reduce market fragmentation which will increase digital jobs.
There might be the scenario in which a person could obtain a SIM from a European country different than the one they live in, where the operator’s offer is cheaper. In order to avoid such cases the agreement also contains a “fair use” clause enabling operators to charge extra money, but the fee will be small. Another problem might be the case in which somebody moves in another country but keeps the service from the domestic carrier.
Such situations could have a negative effect both on customers and domestic prices. If a person who moves abroad reaches the limit they will be charged with a small basic fee which will be lower than the present caps.
Pilar del Castillo Vera, ITRE (Industry, Research and Energy) rapporteur, remarked that the problem is not when the person is roaming for three or five months.
“The problem is when you are living in your country and you are using this possibility of having, for example, a SIM card for the normal part of consumption you have in your own country. It is not when you are outside.”
According to her this will be defined in detail by the European Commission.
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