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Euro roaming charges to fall 70% by summer

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European mobile phone roaming charges should collapse as much 70 per cent by the summer, following a vote in the European Parliament today.

The European Parliament's Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee voted in favour of a proposed European Commission regulation to reduce roaming charges by 70 per cent.

Wednesday morning’s vote follows a meeting of European telecoms ministers at CeBIT last week, which agreed on the need to force through cuts, given operators’ reluctance to cut charges of their own volition.

The Commission plans to do this by setting “price ceilings.. at wholesale and at retail level to ensure that mobile roaming charges are not unjustifiably higher than those incurred by domestic mobile phone use.” Below the ceilings competition will reign.

In addition, operators to provide roaming information to customers “on request and free of charge.”

After today’s vote, the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers will decide how and when to adopt the Commission’s proposal. At this point it will become law. The Commission is banking on this happening by the summer. How quickly national governments fall into line is another matter.®

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