Proposed EU wholesale roaming price caps received final clearance from the European Parliament, paving the way for an end to retail roaming charges on 15 June.
Today’s vote rubber-stamped roaming rate fees already agreed by representatives from the European Council, European Commission (EC) and European Parliament in February. The regulations will now be given a final reading to the Council before becoming law.
Speaking to the European Parliament ahead of the vote, EC VP for the digital single market, Andrus Ansip, said the negotiation on the level of wholesale price caps had been technically complicated and involved finding an adequate political balance.
Defining the level of the wholesale caps – the rates operators can levy on each other for connecting customers within the EU – took several months as the three bodies argued for vastly different levels for the data cap.
Its final figures were set at €0.032 per minute for voice calls, €0.01 per SMS and a decreasing scale for data starting at €7.70 per GB in June 2017, eventually reaching €2.50 per GB in 2022.
Following today’s European Parliament vote, Ansip said: “After nearly ten years, the EU is now putting a definitive end to the roaming anxiety that has plagued Europe since the beginning of the mobile era.
“Exorbitant roaming prices were an anomaly in a continent where people move freely between countries. With the end of roaming charges for travellers, we will achieve a much more vibrant Digital Single Market. At last, people will be able to stop turning off their data or phones when they cross an EU border and this will have an immediate positive impact on the lives of Europeans.”