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18 June 2012

Roaming prices for mobile data in Europe are set to fall radically from this summer onwards

Following assiduous negotiations involving the European Council, the European parliament and the industry, mobile network operators are reported to have been forced to agree to eliminate data roaming charges completely by 2016.

Even better news for users is that there should be big reductions prior to that date. Networks are due to reduce the fee per megabyte to a maximum of 70 cents by this summer, and to 20 cents by 2014.

Network operators have always argued that interoperability issues and inter-network charging costs have justified the high roaming fees, but few in the industry now appear to give credence to this view.

It is hard to see how a file transfer that currently costs only a fraction of one penny (a proportion of the standing charge) within a country could cost hundreds or even thousands of times as much as soon as the user crosses a border.

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Roaming charges for data and text messages are also due to fall over the next three years. For data they will come down from 2.5 euros to 20 cents, while for SMS texts they will fall from 11 cents to 6 cents.

What is not clear yet is how mobile networks will set about recouping the fees they have enjoyed from these sources until now.

 

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