EU reaches deal on wholesale roaming caps

EU

Europe’s leading institutions have agreed on how to regulate the wholesale roaming market, paving the way for the abolition of all roaming charges from 15 June this year.

Representatives of the European Parliament, the European Council and the European Commission have set the caps at 3.2 cents per minute for voice calls and one cent per SMS.

Data will be capped at €7.7 per GB from June, but will decrease on 1 January every year over the next five years.

The cap will fall to €6 per GB in 2018, €4.5 per GB in 2019, €3.5 per GB in 2020, €3 per GB in 2021 and end up at €2.5 per GB in 2022.

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

[Read more: European Commission introduces new roaming mechanism to appease telcos]

While the wholesale agreement still requires formal approval by the Industry Committee, Parliament and national ministers before entering into law, it represents the final hurdle before consumers can use their mobiles abroad in the same way as they do at home.

Andrus Ansip, Vice-President for the Digital Single Market, said: "This was the last piece of the puzzle.

“As of 15 June, Europeans will be able to travel in the EU without roaming charges.

“We have also made sure that operators can continue competing to provide the most attractive offers to their home markets. Today we deliver on our promise.”

European Parliament member Miapetra Kumpula-Natri, who steered the legislation through Parliament, added: “The agreed caps ensure cost coverage for efficient operators throughout Europe but are low enough to sustain competition on the European telecom markets.”

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