New price curbs on the cost of using a mobile phone while outside a home state in the European Union came into effect today. The BBC notes that the cap for a roaming text has fallen to EUR0.11, from around EUR0.29. Downloading data while roaming now costs a maximum of EUR1 per megabyte at the wholesale level compared with previous costs of about EUR1.68. An earlier price cap of EUR0.46 per minute for an outgoing voice call has also fallen to EUR0.43, whilst the cap on voice calls received abroad has fallen from EUR0.22 to EUR0.19. In addition, mobile operators have been forced to charge for calls by the second after the first half minute, instead of rounding up to the nearest minute, whilst operators must introduce per-second billing from the first second for calls received abroad. The caps will further fall to EUR0.39 for calls made and EUR0.15 for calls received while roaming from 1 July 2010, and to EUR0.35 and EUR0.11 from 1 July 2011.

“All Europeans making calls or sending texts with their mobiles can experience the EU’s single market without borders. The roaming rip-off is now coming to an end,” EU telecoms commissioner Viviane Reding said in a statement. Today’s move follows adoption of the price curbs by the European Parliament in April, which had already been approved by EU telecoms ministers in November last year. Industry association the GSMA has said the latest measures – when they were introduced – were unnecessary and that data prices were already falling.