European Parliament Approves Lower Roaming Charges
By KEVIN J. O'BRIEN May 10, 2012
BERLIN - European lawmakers on Thursday approved a plan to extend and lower the Continent's limits on mobile phone roaming charges paid by consumers for another five years, and added the first controls on mobile Internet use.
In addition to the caps, the legislation adopted by the European Parliament will allow E.U. residents to buy roaming services from a carrier besides their regular operator beginning in 2014, an attempt to create competition in the market that will lower prices and supplant the need for price controls.
The Parliament voted 578 to 10, with 10 abstentions, for the politically popular measure. The European Council of Ministers, which acts as the legislative upper house, has already agreed to adopt the same proposal at its next meeting in June.
The new lower price caps will take effect on July 1. Neelie Kroes, the European commissioner for telecommunications, said the reductions in retail price caps, especially the limit on data roaming, could save some European families EU300, or $390, during a one-week summer vacation outside their home countries.