11/05/2012 08:25 BST | Updated 11/05/2012 09:12 BST

EU Brings Down Mobile Phone Roaming Charges

Now for the good news.

Holidays are going to come that much cheaper to Brits abroad, as the EU announces new price caps for mobile data roaming.

The new prices caps, which will come into force on 1 July 2012, are:

29 cents per minute to make a call, plus VAT

8 cents per minute to receive a call, plus VAT

9 cents to send a text message, plus VAT

70 cents per Megabyte (MB) to download data or browse the Internet whilst travelling abroad (charged per Kilobyte used), plus VAT.


Data roaming costs have caused huge headaches for travellers caught unawares by the high prices for using mobile phones abroad.

Earlier this year, one holiday maker reported receiving a £1200 mobile roaming bill on return from a break.

In November, the communications obudsman told The Huffington Post that mobile data roaming costs were a huge problem, saying "In the case of data downloads and streaming - the risk to our pockets can be severe."

Apple users have also been shocked by data roaming costs, even when data roaming was turned off.

The EU says this reduction could mean savings of over €1000 per year for a typical business traveller in the EU, and €200 for a families who take annual holidays in the EU.

Neelie Kroes, commission vice president said: "By putting price caps on data we have created a roaming market for the smart phone generation. More than that, we have ended the rip-offs familiar to anyone who has used a mobile phone while travelling abroad. I am pleased that year after year the European Union is putting money back in the pockets of citizens."

Holidaymakers might be thrilled, but the move has put some phone carriers on the back foot.

Orange said market forces were more important than top-down EU rulings in setting phone charges, saying in a statement: "Orange remains convinced that organic competitive market forces are effective in driving roaming prices down naturally thereby meeting customers’ needs . The Group has consistently brought down the cost of roaming."

The groups said that data costs will decline as more people use mobile internet roaming.