EU's mobile roaming price caps come into play

mobile roaming

European mobile networks are now required to reduce the price of mobile roaming calls in line with EU policy that comes into force from today.

The EU-regulated "Eurotarrif" will mean outgoing calls cost no more than 35 cents per minute, while incoming calls are capped at just 11 cents per minute. This will be the last of the regulated price cuts under the EU Roaming Regulation, due to end in June next year.

The caps were first introduced in 2007 and revised in 2009, but a lack of success and user demand has meant the EU is going back to the drawing board for a rethink after this final phase.

This week, the EU Commission released a report explaining its change of heart. It revealed while previous price cuts have temporarily reduced roaming prices during the regulated period, the measures taken have not successfully combatted the lack of competition, meaning prices haven't really moved far from retail.

The EU believes the difference between roaming and national telecoms tariffs should approach zero by 2015 and the commission will soon present an alterative proposal for a "long-term solution to the structural problems" in call, text and data roaming.

"These new price caps will temporarily reduce retail prices for making and receiving voice calls when in another EU country during the coming year. We have to tackle roaming problems at the root with a long lasting structural approach," said Neelie Kroes, EU Commission vice president for the Digital Agenda.

"The commission will therefore be coming forward very shortly with comprehensive new proposals for long-term solutions to address the underlying problem of lack of competition in roaming markets."