In July 2008, What Consumer reported on European moves to force UK phone companies to lower the cost of texting and downloading data abroad. At that time consumers were paying up to 40p per text and £7.50 per megabyte for things like checking emails and accessing the internet. Although several companies did cut their prices voluntarily, it was not as much as EU Ministers wanted, and there was still a good deal of resistance from the industry in general .
Since July 1st 2009 however, new rules have come into force which cap roaming charges at 11 Euros (10p) for a text, and 1 Euro (85p) per megabyte for a data download, excluding VAT. The rules also further reduce the cost of voice calls, while also forcing companies to charge their customers per second of usage, instead of rounding it up to the nearest minute.
The push to reduce the cost to consumers of excessive mobile roaming charges has been spearheaded by Viviane Reding, EU telecoms Commissioner, who said, “This is great news for European citizens who will be able to go on holiday this summer and roam with peace of mind and without the fear of ‘bill shocks’”