Bloomberg News writes that from today (1 July), the European Union (EU) is cutting the price mobile carriers such as Vodafone Group and Orange can charge customers for checking e-mail and watching videos while traveling by 36%. Under new rules laid down by the EU, European mobile carriers will not be able to charge customers travelling abroad more than EUR0.45 (USD0.59) per 1MB of data, plus tax, down from the previous cap of EUR0.70 (set a year ago). Further, from 1 July 2014 the rate will be cut again to a maximum EUR0.20 per 1MB it said. The move means that data roaming fees are now 91% lower than they were in 2007.
The new rates form a key part of European Commission (EC) vice president Neelie Kroes’s plan to make the European market a level playing field. However, her battle plan has sparked the ire of many mobile carrier which argue that – whilst consumer-friendly – they are too restrictive and will act as a bar to network investment in future. ‘The latest price cuts put more money in your pocket for summer, and are a critical step towards getting rid of these premiums once and for all,’ Ms Kroes said in the statement. ‘This is good for both consumers and companies, because it takes fear out of the market, and it grows the market.’