EU to force mobile operators to cut roaming charges

Some news you can actually use… if you have a Mobile phone SIM card in the European Union.

The EU has noticed over time that roaming fees within the area have been stupidly high and since 2007 have forced operators to cap how much they charge with a lot of success despite their whining (Yes O2 UK, Orange UK, T-Mobile, Three UK and Vodafone UK, I’m looking squarely at you and the irritating whining that you all seem to make given a slice of publicity).

This has now gone to the EU Parliament, who have voted through a high majority of 578 to 10 to lower the price caps even further, with the aim of reducing the price difference of roaming within the EU to near enough using your mobile phone in your own country.

The charges from 1st July 2012 are to be capped as follows:

Retail ceilings (charged to consumers) excluding VAT, prices in Euro cents.

Current 1 July 2012 1 July 2013 1 July 2014
(per megabyte)
None 70c (56p)
45c (36p)
Phone calls made
(per minute)
35c (28p)
29c (23p)
24c (19p)
19c (15p)
Phone calls received
(per minute)
11c (8p)
8c (6.5p)
7c (5.6p).
5c (4p)
SMS (per SMS) 11c (8p)
9c (7p)
8c (6.5p)
6c (5p)

Conversion data: (assuming no load)
Rate on Saturday 12/MAY/2012, 03:00

In addition, there is a lovely technical peice of news that goes with it – the ability to choose a network other than your existing provider for roaming services – the idea being you have your normal contract for your home country calls, and a tag-on contract for EU Roaming purposes, whilst keeping the same number throughout.

Now this is all good news. But mobile operators seems to enjoy taking money. Whilst this affects operators within the EU it does not regulate for non-EU phone users (allowing massive roaming charges to be made) and for some of us more importantly – it does not regulate for charging outside the EU. 

The net result is going to be this… International Roaming fees will probably go up to recover the lost revenue.

And as much as I love to be pay Vodafone the following when I travel to the USA…

Make a    Receive a   SMS   MMS  Data
 Call       Call

£1.35      £1.00      35p   37p  £3 per MB for the first 5MB.
a min      a min                 £15 for every 5MB after that

Source: Vodafone UK –

Dear Vodafone UK. Allow me to introduce you to my friends in the USA  – T-Mobile and AT&T who offer wonderful Pay As You Go phones, which a semi frequent flyer can recoup the costs of roaming in a trip or two (based on an AT&T GoPhone for $19.99+$25 top up for 90 day= £28, or $25 for a SIM Card = £15.55).

The rip off of mobile roaming is something I wrote about many moons ago – I think I might have to revisit it to see if the value proposition still adds up today…