Cap on EU roaming charges set to kick in

Good news for those who like to travel in Europe - data roaming, texting, and calling are about to get much cheaper.

Cap on EU roaming charges set to kick in
Photo: zoetnet/Flickr
Want to live stream your visit to the Acropolis in Athens? Want to call your family from a gondola in Venice? Want to send an Instagram selfie from a coffee shop in Amsterdam?
Well now you can do it without having to worry about surprises in the data roaming costs. 
Yes, from Saturday, huge phone bills after trips abroad might just be a thing of the past – at least for those travelling within the EU. 
The EU's new laws will come into effect from April 30th, when telecom companies will be able to charge a maximum of €0.06 per minute on top of the domestic price for calls, €0.02 for texts, and €0.06 per megabyte of data.
Accepting a call will be capped at €0.012 per minute.
Live selfie stream? Why not. Photo: AFP
Total ban by 2017
Roaming fees are set to disappear completely by June 2017, ten years after the European Commission first looked into reducing costs for mobile calls within the EU.
But the mobile operators could still manage to claw back some of the cash if they succeed in obtaining exceptions to some of the new rules.
Some consumer organizations around Europe have warned that it's unclear how the new rules will apply to customers on flat-rate mobile plans.
Operators may only charge the permitted extra fee on top of the user's monthly payment – or could introduce small print to make flat rates valid in the user's home country only, allowing them to set a minute-by-minute tariff for calls abroad.
Some operators, though, have responded to customers' anger at roaming fees by introducing monthly packages that include some or even unlimited free roaming.

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