EU starts capping phone roaming charges

New limits on mobile phone roaming call charges now apply in EU member countries, cutting the cost of making a roaming call to 34p a minute.

Mobile users in the UK and across Europe can rejoice as the new European Union-wide price cap is now in effect, limiting the amount that mobile networks can charge for calls while travelling.

As of today, the price limit for making calls abroad is set at 34p per minute, while the cost of receiving a call is set at 17p per minute.

The so-called Eurotariff rates will apply to all mobile phone operators operating in EU countries and are effective for the next 12 months, after which they will fall further, reaching 30p for outbound and 13p for inbound by 2009.

In addition, customers using the Eurotariff, part of the EU's new Roaming Regulation, must be notified of roaming charges whenever they cross an EU internal border. The policy is an important element for increasing competition and for keeping prices low, according to an EU spokesperson.

The Roaming Regulation is a three year plan, with the European Commission reassessing its benefits for users and competition after 18 months.

The EU's original deadline for mobile operators to notify their customers of the soon to be imposed Eurotariff was 30 July. Customer's who responded to the 30 July offer were supposed to benefit from the lower prices within a month, but it was not until the 30 September that all customers were automatically switched to the lower roaming charges.

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