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EU approves roaming charge cap on calls, texts, and data, further reductions by 2014

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The EU has approved Europe-wide caps on the amount carriers can charge customers for calls, texts, and data while roaming.

European Commission
European Commission

The European Union has approved a cap on the cost of calls and mobile data while roaming in the EU, set to come into effect on July 1st this year. The legislation will also allow customers to choose from any provider while abroad, creating greater competition as well as improving the chances of finding coverage. This also means that you'll be able to purchase your roaming plan separately from your regular contract, while still keeping the same number.

Come July, the cost of mobile data will be a maximum €0.70 (approximately $0.90) per megabyte, which will fall to €0.45/MB ($0.60) in 2013 and finally to €0.20 per MB ($0.25) by July 2014. Calls are also seeing a reduction: from July 1st, a one minute call will be limited to €0.29 (~ $0.40), falling to €0.19 by 2014. There'll also be a cap on SMS messages to €0.11 ($0.15) from July which will in turn drop to €0.06 ($0.08) in two years time. All the above prices exclude VAT, which varies by country.

It's the latest move by the European Parliament to prevent customers experiencing extortionate bills on their return from traveling. The €0.20/MB cap gained provisional approval in March, and measures are already in place to warn customers when they're nearing a certain level of data use while abroad.