From today (Thursday), extortionate mobile roaming charges will be a thing of the past thanks to the European Union, according to Seán Kelly MEP. "From June 15th, consumers will no longer be ripped off when paying for mobile calls, texts and data when they travel to another EU Member State. This is a clear example of EU effectiveness in action.

"With the end to roaming charges, we tear down another big, unnecessary barrier and make it easier for Irish businesses to take advantage of the Single European Market. SMEs are our biggest employers, yet currently only 7 percent of them sell across borders - this is one step of a broad strategy that further encourage and help them to change this."

“Roaming charges have fallen dramatically over the last decade, so much so that we almost forget that just 10 years ago, in 2007, the roaming charge was 49 cent per minute per voice call made, and 24 cent per minute per voice call received. In 2009, the roaming fee per text message was 11 cent. In 2012, it cost consumers 70 cent per Megabyte of Data used in additional roaming fees. Over the last decade, the EU has driven down such fees by 92-96 percent.

“From tomorrow, an Irish person can use the same plan they have at home in any other EU country and will not be charged additional fees. In other words, you can call Irish phones when on holiday in the EU for the same price you would pay at home.”

Calls to other EU country phone numbers when roaming will be charged, as they would at home, unless the user has a preferential tariff plan for EU calls etc. As the deal is not designed for permanent roaming, you must use your phone more in your home country than abroad. If this fair usage policy is broken, then the operator may apply extra fees as long as they are reasonable and proportionate.

In addition, network operators should inform customers of the new policy and remind them again on arrival in another EU country. For data, operators should inform customers of their roam like at home data allowance, with warning messages if they exceed this. Customers that have unlimited data must be provided with a large volume of roam like at home data, depending on the price of the national mobile bundle.

"As an MEP who has campaigned for the abolishment of roaming for the last seven years, I am delighted that citizens can finally "roam-like-at-home", Mr Kelly said.

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