Roaming charges can be a pain. When you’re on vacation, especially in a foreign country, you’re probably going to rely on your phone to help you get around and figure out what to do. Even if you’ve got some roaming data and calls to use, that could get gobbled up quickly, resulting in some heavy charges when you get back home. Europe has realized how silly that situation is and has decided to stop it.
The European Parliament has voted to put an end to mobile roaming charges by June 2017. Before then, though, roaming charges will be cut down. Those charges are currently set at €0.19 per minute for outgoing calls, €0.05 for incoming calls, €0.06 per text, and €0.20 per megabyte of data. In April 2016, those costs will go down to €0.05 per minute, €0.02 per text, and €0.05 per megabyte. Once June 2017 rolls around, consumers will pay the same rates for calling, texting, and data while traveling or at home.
Here’s what Liberal Democrat MEP (Member of the European Parliament) Catherine Bearder had to say about the vote:
“The end of rip-off roaming fees is a massive win for British consumers. Driving down costs and making it easier to travel is what being in the EU is all about. This shows what we can achieve when Britain plays a leading role in Europe.”
Unsurprisingly, not everyone was totally on board with the decision to kill roaming charges. Roger Helmer, another MEP, said, "Lower prices for jet-setters will mean higher domestic prices. The EU plan is good for MEPs, bad for voters.”
This decision is a big one for Europe. As I said before, the last thing that you want to do while on vacation is closely monitor your cellphone usage, but you could end up with a huge bill when you return home if you don’t do so. The only downside to today’s news is that it’ll take until June 2017 for roaming charges to finally die in Europe. But hey, at least it’s happening.