The European Parliament on Thursday endorsed a deal for putting caps on the fees telecoms operators can charge each other for using each other’s networks for cross-border calls and data exchanges, thus removing the final obstacle to the full abolition of so-called roaming surcharges.
The “wholesale price caps” covered in the deal ultimately affect the prices paid by consumers, which are already subject to limits.
The abolition of retail roaming surcharges, now scheduled for 15 June 2017, will enable consumers to call text and use mobile data for the same cost at home and while travelling in another EU country. and transfer data across borders from another EU member state for the same cost as at home.
“This is a great victory for European consumers”, said rapporteur Miapetra Kumpula-Natri (S&D, FI). “We can now celebrate the fact that from 15 June on there will be no more roaming fees. Users travelling in across Europe will be able to check emails, use maps, upload photos on the social media, phone and text home without extra cost.”
Parliament removed the final hurdle – wholesale price caps – by endorsing an informal deal on them, already informally agreed with the Council, by 549 votes to 27and 50 abstentions.
The informal agreement between the Parliament and Council on wholesale price caps defines how much telecoms operators can charge each other for using their networks to carry cross-border “roaming” calls. Wholesale roaming prices indirectly affect consumers’ final bills.
Lower caps for data transfers would enable EU consumers to access more more data such as audio-visual content when travelling from a country to another. This could also open up markets for small and virtual telecoms operators.