Commission welcomes agreement to end roaming charges and to guarantee an open Internet

Huge telephone bills ruining your holiday budget, an Internet connection not delivering on its promises: these experiences will be soon old memories. Almost two years after the European Commission put forward its proposal for a telecoms single market, an agreement was found with the European Parliament and the Council. The compromise was reached earlier today following final negotiations between the three institutions (so-called 'trilogue' meetings).

It foresees:

  • The end of roaming charges in June 2017. When travelling in the EU, mobile phone users will pay the same price as at home, with no extra charges.
  • Strong net neutrality rules protecting the right of every European to access Internet content, without discrimination.

For a decade, the Commission has continuously been working to decrease roaming charges within the EU. Prices for roaming calls, SMS and data have fallen by 80% since 2007. Data roaming is now up to 91% cheaper compared to 2007.

Under today's agreement roaming charges will cease to exist in the EU as of 15 June 2017. Consumers will pay the same price for calls, texts and mobile data wherever they are travelling in the EU. Calling a friend when you are at home or in another EU country won't make a difference on your bill. To abolish roaming charges a series of technical conditions will have to be fulfilled. The EU will get prepared. The Commission is fully committed to implementing those conditions.

Already from April 2016, roaming will become even cheaper: operators will only be able to charge a small additional amount to domestic prices up to €0.05 per minute of call made, €0.02 per SMS sent, and €0.05 per MB of data (excl. VAT). This maximum roaming charge is about 75% cheaper than current roaming caps for calls made and data.

Today's agreement also enshrines for the first time the principle of net neutrality into EU law: users will be free to access the content of their choice, they will not be unfairly blocked or slowed down anymore, and paid prioritisation will not be allowed. This means, for example, that the access to a start-up's website will not be unfairly slowed down to make the way for bigger companies.

In parallel, Internet access providers will still be able to offer specialised services of higher quality, such as Internet TV and new innovative applications, so long as these services are not supplied at the expense of the quality of the open Internet.

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