An end to mobile roaming charges?

The end of mobile roaming charges has been discussed for years – but the European Parliament just took another step to abolishing roaming fees altogether.If you do business internationally and either you or your team regularly travel abroad on business (or you just have lots of holidays!) then roaming charges will be the bane of you life. As any business person who travels and looks at their bills will know, you get charged every time your phone connects to a network in another country and you make calls, send texts or use data to access the internet. Costs can rapidly spiral if you haven’t pre-purchased a bundle, especially if you are accessing data-heavy products like video.

The European Parliament has reached a provisional deal to cap the wholesale charges which operators levy when phones use each other’s networks, although the full parliament and all of the member states must still ratify any deal, so there could still be some hiccoughs along the way. The first steps to limit roaming charges began ten years ago, and it will be another 2-3 years before we really see the full impact.

Under the provisional agreement, the wholesale data charge – which currently is capped at 50 Euros per gigabyte, will fall to 7.7 Euros on 15 June 2017, and will fall again every year on the 1st January until, by 2022 the cost will have come down to 2.5 Euros per gigabyte.

Wholesale calling costs will also fall, from a current rate of 5 cents per minute (about 4p) to 3.2 cents (about 3p) in 15 June. Texts will go down from 2 cents to 1 cent per message.

All good news if you have members of your team regularly travelling abroad and who need to keep in touch! However, a word of warning: when the UK leaves the EU charges will quite possibly rise again as Britain will cease to be part of the EU agreement…