For several years now, the European Union has been striving to lower the cost of roaming for citizens traveling throughout different countries in the EU, and now it's looking to pass a proposal that will continue reducing the prices for roaming voice minutes, SMS messages, and data. By 2014, rates would stand at €0.20 per megabyte of data; placing a voice call would cost €0.25 per minute as of July 1st of this year and €0.15 in 2014, while sending an SMS would cost €0.08 in July this year and €0.05 in 2014. This would represent significant reductions over the what consumers are charged now: €0.50 per megabyte of data, €0.35 per minute for placing a voice call, and €0.11 for sending an SMS.
Another way the EU has sought to keep roaming charges down was the implementation of a €50 roaming cap — once you hit the cap, operators were required to alert customers and make them opt-in to continue using roaming service. As part of a new proposal, the EU is trying to have this cap enforced across the globe so that customers can avoid the "sticker-shock" of extremely high bills when they return from travel abroad. This proposal will go in front of the European Parliament in April and would replace the current roaming agreements that are set to expire this July.
Should these new limits go into effect, we might see widespread re-negotiation of roaming contracts with carriers all over the world, as European Union carriers would need to pay less to operator partners so they could pass savings along to customers. We certainly wouldn't mind if this legislation led to cheaper roaming agreements around the world, because it's certainly a significant expense now.