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Euro telephone Tarriff

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How much do you pay when you use your mobile phone abroad?

Since the roaming regulation entered into force in June 2007, European consumers are paying 60% less to make and receive voice calls while travelling in the EU. However, the prices for sending an SMS abroad or using data roaming services have remained ridiculously high. This will change soon.

On 23 September 2008, the Commission proposed to introduced price caps for SMS (11 cents vs. current average 29 cents per message while travelling abroad) and measures to tackle ‘bill shocks’ for consumers who can receive bills of thousands of Euros for surfing the internet through a mobile connection.
New rules propose to reduce the price for SMS roaming by 62%
Some facts:

Check your roaming tariffs

2.5 billion text messages are sent every year by roaming customers in the EU.
SMS sent from abroad cost over 10 times more than domestic SMS.
Average cost of a "roamed" text message in the EU between October 2007 and March 2008: €0.29. Maximum price: €0.75 for citizens travelling from Belgium.

Repeated calls on the industry to bring about voluntary reductions of high SMS roaming prices have not been answered. This is why the European Commission proposed to reduce the consumer price for SMS roaming by 62% on 23 September as of 1 July 2009 by setting a retail cap of €0.11 on roaming text messages (excluding VAT). The proposed cap is the maximum permissible price. Operators are encouraged to compete below these caps for the best offers and packages.

Tackling "bill shocks"
At the moment, the use of data roaming services remains limited as consumers are discouraged by extremely high charges compared to national prices, and by a lack of transparency regarding the charging by volume of data (megabytes).To avoid high data roaming charges that can run to thousands of euros, customers travelling to another Member State should be kept informed of the charges that apply for data roaming services by an automatic message. The Commission has also proposed that on 1 July 2010, operators must provide customers with the opportunity to determine in advance how much they want to spend before the service is "cut-off".

The Commission proposal will now be discussed by the European Parliament and Council.

The Commission has been monitoring operators closely

When the roaming regulation was adopted, the European Parliament and the Council had asked the Commission and national regulators to monitor prices for SMS and data. A first series of benchmark reports showed that prices remained very high and no changes were taking place. Commissioner Reding therefore decided to give operators until July 1, 2008 to lower SMS and data roaming charges. The Commission then sent letters to the CEOs of all European mobile operators inquiring about their SMS and data prices. The assessment showed that prices are still too high.

Therefore the Commission is likely to propose to regulate SMS in September and slash prices by 2/3 to send text messages while abroad. The Commission will also propose measures to increase transparency in roaming charges and put an end to 'bill shocks' experienced by roaming customers using the internet.