Conservative MEPs have voted to support an agreement that will end mobile phone roaming completely by July 2017. The deal also introduces important consumer protection measures, to ensure users are informed of their roaming rights and consumption and are empowered to detect possible breaches of open internet rules.
As an interim measure roaming charges will be significantly cheaper by next summer, where operators will only be able to charge a small amount more than domestic costs.
As well as ending roaming charges, the deal also enshrines in law for the first time the principle of so-called “net neutrality”, best described as freedom of speech on the internet.
Thanks to the work of Conservatives in the European Parliament, national governments will be able to continue to maintain online parental controls, if brought under national law, giving governments until the end of 2016 to pass legislation enabling national status quos to continue.
Richard Ashworth, MEP for the South East of England, who supported the agreement, said:
“When we travel abroad and use our mobile phones it can often be very expensive. Abolishing mobile roaming fees will be welcomed by millions of people, as they will be able to use their apps, make calls and send a text just as if they were at home.
“As a result of the EU ending roaming fees it will mean British holiday makers will be able to make significant savings when they travel abroad, and will no longer have to worry about unexpected charges.
Richard Ashworth added “This is a deal which is fair to both consumers and mobile phone operators. We have ensured safeguards in the agreement, which prevent excessive usage. This means phone operators are not forced to offer roaming services at a loss, and domestic customers do not end up subsidising those customers who travel.
“We have achieved a sensible timescale that gives mobile operators the time to sort out the marketplace in preparation for the abolition of roaming fees.