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Mobile phone costs set to be cut in EU vote

Making a call or sending a text while on holiday or business in a European Union (EU) country is set to become cheaper this summer.

key_cbphone.pngEPs are expected to vote on Thursday (May 10) for a cut in the price companies can bill customers for calls and texts, while also rubberstamping a maximum fee for data usage.

Catherine Bearder, an MEP for the South East, said the move will prevent any nasty surprises when people return home and open their phone bills.

She said: "Mobile phone companies have been able to get away with, frankly, rip off charges for far too long in my opinion.

"The costs make it prohibitive to use a phone or tablet while in the EU, and the tariffs cause confusion for customers."

However, MEPs and national Governments struck a deal expected to be rubberstamped on Thursday (May 10) which will see costs reduced from Sunday, July 1.

It means the cost of making a call will be limited to 23p per minute, sending a text will cost 7p and data will be pegged at 56p per megabyte.

At the moment, the top charge for making a call is around 28p, sending a text is about 8p and there is no cap on what firms can charge for data.

But the aim is by 2014 operators will not be able to charge more than 15p for making a call, 5p for sending text and 16p for a megabyte of data.

The European Commission has also said from July 2014 operators will have to open up their networks to providers from other EU countries in an effort to give customers more choice.

Mobile phone users will be able to sign a separate contract and find the best deal when travelling abroad.

Catherine added: "Competition is vital to ensure customers don't feel hamstrung by their mobile phone operator."

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