New European Union mobile roaming regulation came into force today, which the watchdog said will lower the price caps for data downloads by 36 per cent.
In a statement, Neelie Kroes, VP of the European Commission, said: “This is good for both consumers and companies, because it takes fear out of the market, and it grows the market.”
The regulator said that since 2007, it has achieved overall retail price reductions across calls, SMS and data of more than 80 per cent.
The new caps form part of wider guidelines from the EU concerning roaming, which will eventually see customers able to choose an operator other than their home service provider to deliver roaming capabilities.
Pan-European groups such as Orange and Vodafone are believed to be eyeing this opportunity.
The new caps, as of 1 July 2013, are €0.45 per 1MB plus VAT for mobile data; €0.24 per minute plus VAT for making calls; €0.07 per minute plus VAT to receive a call; and €0.08 plus VAT to send an SMS message.
These are underpinned by a reduction in wholesale pricing caps.
The watchdog said that “operators are free to offer cheaper rates, and some have already begun to remove roaming premiums altogether for voice and SMS, or offer a roaming-free area region across one section of Europe or another”.
A further tranche of reductions are scheduled for 1 July 2014.