Bills on mobile phone calls for travellers in Europe will come down from 1st July this year after a vote in the European Parliament in Brussels today (Thursday).
In time for the summer holidays, Welsh Labour Euro-MP DEREK VAUGHAN voted to regulate not simply the cost of making calls from abroad and receiving calls from home, but he also voted to bring down the charges for "data roaming" when holidaymakers want to download information from the net.
The changes should see the cost of making a call drop this year from around 30p/min to 20p/min and the cost of sending a text will fall to 7p. Further changes will follow with the cost of making a call set to fall as low as 12p/min by 2014. Data roaming costs will also be capped for the first time with 1MB costing 40p.
The Euro-MP said:
"The mobile phone companies have been ripping off holidaymakers from the Wales for too long.
The barrier charging different rates across national boundaries is totally artificial - phone signals don’t know they’ve crossed a border! This week's vote will bring prices down considerably and Welsh people travelling abroad this summer will really feel the difference in their pocket. It will be cheaper to make a call, send a text or check Facebook or the football scores online.
If roaming prices have not come all the way down to domestic levels by 2016, then the European Commission will be obliged to propose additional legislation to ensure that roaming charges are identical to domestic prices.
We wanted to get rid of roaming charges altogether but unfortunately the right wing MEPs supported the phone companies and we had to agree on a temporary measure.
When you're travelling, you often want to download data, to find out about places to visit, for example. So there will be a dramatic reduction in prices particularly for internet use.
We will also have 'bill-shock protection', set at 50 euros, so that customers are warned by text if they have spent a lot of money while travelling."