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EU says new data roaming limits take effect July 1

updated 06:30 pm EDT, Mon June 28, 2010

EU-imposed data roaming limits take effect July 1

In its efforts to regulate roaming fees in Europe, the European Union has reaffirmed that roaming data charges will be automatically capped at 50 Euros (about $62) before tax starting on July 1. Users can choose their own limits when traveling in other countries in Europe, and carriers will now have to send a warning message when 80 percent of that limit is reached. Once the limit is reached, they will need to cut off the data connection unless the subscriber has asked for more.

The rules revision will also see maximum wholesale per MB data roaming prices fall by 20 percent. Making calls while roaming will cost a maximum of 39 cents per minute before tax rather than the current 43 cents, with incoming calls costing 15 cents rather than 19 come July 1. This marks a reduction of 73 percent in mobile phone call prices since 2005.

Roaming while in non-EU countries will vary. The maximum data charge will be calculated based on the exchange rate published in the EU's Official Journal as of June 1.

Subscribers will also need to be informed through a message whenever they enter another EU country. This can be done by a text message, e-mail or a pop-up window on computer screens. Voicemail alerts will be free outside of any usual charges.

The new caps are being implemented to prevent what have often been seen as unnecessary surprises for European customers, who travel often but aren't always aware of roaming fees. Like in North America, they have often faced "bill shock," or charges ranging into the hundreds and thousands of dollars simply for using voice and data outside of their native countries. Carriers have protested the EU caps as excessive regulation, but they were also unable to justify their existing rates to officials.

By Electronista Staff
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  1. Geobunny

    Mac Elite

    Joined: Oct 2000



    Sometimes the EU gets their regulation very very right! In other cases they get it spectacularly wrong ( )!

  1. YangZone

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: May 2000


    Not so excellent in the US...

    'Have not checked up on data rates in a few months but here's what's been going on till relatively recently with one data plan:
    AT&T for "the heavy user": 5GB costs $59.99. OK $10- per 1GB.

    So say you did a few of NetFlix movies in a month and with a few YouTube vids per week and other surfing, email etc you could easily go over by, say, 20% (1GB). That'll cost you $50-.

    The first 5GB cost $60- and the next 5 cost $250- (down recently from $1,250.00 per extra 5GB)

    Roam into Canada and that'll be $2,050.00 per 1GB please
    Roam into Mexico: $5,120.00 per 1GB
    Roam into the Caribbean or other places like India: $20,480.00 per 1GB (stop by Goa for a rave and stay a couple of weeks, anybody? Do the Netflix thing, the YouTube thing and the rest and you'll soon have an extra $100K on your bill.)

    Roaming aside, what I'd like to know is: in what other business model do you pay $10- each for 5 items and $50- for each additional item?

    The EU is doing the right thing… same should be done here. [And @Excellent above: spectacularly wrong? that's your opinion - surely it is inappropriate to use regional colloquialisms to describe the content of commercial products in a hugely expanded EU when there are standard regulation weights and measures available?]

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