Fall of the roaming empire: EU ends mobile tour costs

The EU on Thursday rang ultimately of roaming costs for Europeans using mobile telephones inside the bloc, in what beneath-strain Brussels hailed as one in all its finest successes.

A decade in the making, the move is available in time for the summer time holidays while thousands and thousands of Europeans can be at the flow, and is a public family members coup at a time while the bloc is underneath hearth over Brexit and other problems.

It approaches Europeans calling, texting or the use of the internet whilst touring in different EU international locations can be charged similar to they may be at domestic, instead of grossly inflated charges main to “bill surprise” on their go back.

 

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“The European Union is set bringing human beings together and making their lives simpler. The quit of roaming costs is a real European success tale,” European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker and European Parliament head Antonio Tajani said in an announcement.

“From now on, residents who travel within the EU can be in a position to name, textual content and connect on their cell devices at the identical price as they pay at home. Eliminating roaming fees is one of the best and maximum tangible successes of the EU.”

The exchange covers the complete of the 28-country bloc as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway, which aren’t EU members, however, a part of the affiliated European Economic Area.

“I think it’s brilliant. It makes it easier to be on holiday and as a way to use my phone anywhere,” stated Vebjorn Kallelid, 20, a Norwegian traveler on holiday in Stockholm.

‘Well performed EU’

It stays to be seen whether Britons will retain to revel in identical-price cell calls and facts downloads in Europe after Britain’s departure from the EU, negotiations for which might be due to begin the subsequent week.

That query has visible the EU’s roaming achievement win assist from some unusual quarters across the Channel.

“Well performed EU,” tweeted Gary Lineker, the former England football captain and now a bunch on BBC television.

Another ex-footballer-turned media pundit, Stan Collymore, said on Twitter: “Roaming fees abolished nowadays in the EU, so you ain’t pay a penny greater over your UK telephone tariff while in the EU! Until Brexit. Enjoy!”

The life of roaming costs — a vital source of revenue for telecoms organizations — became lengthy seen as a “marketplace failure” via Brussels.

The European Commission estimates the stop of roaming prices will cost European telecom operators 1.2 billion euros ($1.3 billion).

But the share of revenues from roaming costs already appreciably declined in latest years as fees for calls and textual content messages dropped 90 percentage considering that 2007 and information expenses declined ninety-six percentage on account that 2012 under EU guidelines.

Data site visitors, in the meantime, has grown a hundred-fold, in step with the EU.

“Each time a European citizen crossed an EU border, be it for holidays, paintings, research or only for an afternoon, they needed to fear approximately the use of their cellular telephones and an excessive phone invoice from the roaming expenses after they got here domestic,” Juncker and Tajani stated.

“Roaming charges will now be a component of the beyond.”

They referred to the abolition of the practice had “been a long term coming, with many actors concerned”.

Nevertheless, “by using operating closely collectively, the European Union has added a concrete, tremendous end result for European citizens”.

Smiley face

Worried with the aid of the upward push of eurosceptic events in current years, the EU has seized upon the cease of roaming to sell itself as a method to Europe’s issues, in place of a cause of them.

The European Commission has hung a massive colored banner down the aspect of its Brussels headquarters announcing “Goodbye roaming expenses” in English, French, and German, along with a smiley face emoji.

Scrapping roaming prices turned into “a very good day for all European residents!” said Manfred Weber, a key ally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel who heads the biggest institution in the European Parliament, the centre-right European People’s Party.

Social Democrat leader Gianni Pittella of Italy meanwhile tweeted that because of the stop of roaming: “We all are a chunk greater European!”