European lawmakers have set into motion a plan to cap roaming data charges in EU member states. While there are already caps in place for voice and SMS fees, these are set to drop further along with the introduction of a cap on mobile data for the first time. The deal has been agreed by European MEPs and the EU council presidency (currently occupied by Denmark), but it still needs approval from the wider EU Parliament in May before going into effect from the 1st of July this year.
Under the proposal, the cap would be lowered every year until 2014, with data fees eventually being limited to under €0.20 ($0.27) a megabyte. The current and future costs are listed below:
The agreement also includes a provision that European carriers must sell wholesale access to other operators, letting customers shop around for roaming service from any network regardless of their contract status. Along with opening the wholesale market to MVNOs, the move is designed to increase competition between carriers and should help ensure that the new caps aren't simply taken as the default prices. These measures, however, will only go into place from July 2014 — and that's if the agreement is approved in Parliament.