The cost of sending text messages on your mobile phone while abroad in the European Union is about to fall sharply in July, when a new law approved Wednesday comes into effect.
Similarly, the price of Internet downloads onto your mobile while you are travelling in the E.U. will drop, and calls made from abroad will be charged per second, rather than per minute. Currently European consumers are paying as up 24 percent too much because their calls are rounded up to the nearest minute, according to the European Commission, the regulatory and executive branch of the E.U.
The European Parliament rubber-stamped the update of roaming laws Wednesday at a plenary meeting in Strasbourg.
A text message sent from abroad in the E.U. will cost no more than
The vote means the new rules will be in place in time for summer holidays, the Commission said.
The new law also cuts the price of mobile phone calls while roaming in another E.U. country. The present cap for a mobile phone call made abroad will progressively drop from
Mobile operators will also be required to bill roaming calls by the second from the 31st second at the latest.
"Today's vote marks the definite end of the roaming ripoff in Europe," said E.U. Telecoms Commissioner Viviane Reding.
The new E.U. roaming rules in a nutshell:
-- The price that consumers can be charged for sending a text message while abroad will be capped at
-- Data roaming charges are substantially reduced (the cost of surfing the Web or downloading movies with a mobile phone while abroad) by introducing a wholesale cap of
-- Consumers will be protected from so-called "bill shocks" by allowing customers to choose a cut-off mechanism once the bill reaches
-- Reduced price caps for mobile roaming calls. Now at
- Per-second billing after the first 30 seconds for roamed calls made and from the first second for calls received while abroad.
The E.U. roaming Web site offers an overview of current roaming tariffs per country.