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Roaming mobile charges to be axed

European Parliament committee votes to end roaming mobile phone charges across EU

MAKING a call or sending an email from a mobile phone is set to cost the same across the whole of EU as it does in France from December 2015.

Under proposals adopted by the European Parliament’s industry committee, mobile phone companies will be obliged to offer 'roam like at home' packages across whole of the EU or allow customers to subscribe to other service providers without changing their SIM card.

Scrapping the unpopular mobile phone roaming charges was approved by Parliament's Industry, Research and Energy Committee, but will still have to be approved by both the European Parliament on April 3.

That, however, is expected to be little more than a rubber-stamping exercise.

It will then have to clear one final hurdle - a meeting of the council of EU ministers - in the autumn.

A coalition of mobile phone operators - including Free and Three, which operate in France - who represent some 45m consumers across Europe has warned that the cost of domestic calls could rise to pay for the abolition of roaming charges.

Consumers have seen the roaming costs of calls and text messages drop by 80%, while data roaming is now up to 91% cheaper than back in 2007 - and, in July, the wholesale cost of roaming will be capped at 5 cents per megabyte of data or per voice call made, and 2 cents per text.

Despite the reductions, 28% of travellers in the EU still switch off their phones abroad to avoid roaming charges, according to a survey by the European Commission.

The legislation applied only within EU borders. Higher charges for using a mobile phone beyond EU borders will still apply.

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