End of roaming nears as EU Member States vote in favour

Europe, roaming, mobile

European Union Member States have voted in favour of proposals on the “fair use” of roaming.

The European Commission updated draft roaming rules last week to “further clarify consumer rights and introduce safeguards to ensure the most competitive domestic offers remain attractive”.

This followed a promise in September to allow operators to check how consumers roam and charge them accordingly should they abuse fair usage.

Telcos successfully lobbied the Commission to drop proposals that allowed people to roam without charge for at least 90 days per year.

The vote by Member States is the latest move in what looks set to be the denouement of the Commission’s decade-long campaign to allow European consumers to pay the same price for using mobile devices abroad as they do at home.

In a statement, the Commission described it as “an important step towards the end of roaming charges on 15 June 2017”.

It continued: “We are convinced that our proposal strikes the right balance and bridges very different, often opposite views.

“Today's vote means that the EU will put an end to extra charges when all travellers are calling, texting and surfing abroad from their mobile phones and devices.”

To enshrine “roam like at home” in law, the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers in charge of Telecoms still have to finalise negotiations on regulation of the wholesale roaming market.

Those talks have now begun, according to the Commission.

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