Fall of the roaming empire: EU ends mobile travel fees

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The EU on Thursday rang ultimately of roaming prices for Europeans the usage of cellular telephones inside the bloc, in what below-pressure Brussels hailed as one among its greatest successes.

A decade in the making, the flow is available in time for the summer time holidays whilst millions of Europeans may be in the flow and is a public relations coup at a time while the bloc is underneath hearth over Brexit and different problems.

It means Europeans calling, texting or using the net when touring in different EU international locations could be charged the same as they may be at home, instead of grossly inflated fees main to “bill shock” on their return.

“The European Union is ready bringing humans together and making their lives simpler. The ease of roaming fees is a real European achievement tale,” European Commission leader Jean-Claude Juncker and European Parliament head Antonio Tajani stated in an assertion.

“From now on, citizens who journey in the EU might be capable of naming, text and connect on their mobile gadgets at the identical price as they pay at home. Eliminating roaming costs is one of the greatest and maximum tangible successes of the EU.”

The alternate covers the complete of the 28-nation bloc as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway, which aren’t EU members but part of the affiliated European Economic Area.

“I suppose it’s extremely good. It makes it less complicated to be on vacation and in an effort to use my cell phone everywhere,” stated Vebjorn Kallelid, 20, a Norwegian traveler on the excursion in Stockholm.

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‘Well played EU’

It stays to be visible whether Britons will preserve to experience equal-cost mobile calls and facts downloads in Europe after Britain’s departure from the EU, negotiations for which might be due to begin the subsequent week.

That query has seen the EU’s roaming achievement win aid from some uncommon quarters across the Channel.

“Well played EU,” tweeted Gary Lineker, the former England soccer captain and now a host on BBC television.

Another ex-footballer-turned media pundit, Stan Collymore, stated on Twitter: “Roaming fees abolished nowadays in the EU so that you received to pay a penny greater over your UK telephone tariff whilst within the EU! Until Brexit. Enjoy!”

The lifestyles of roaming prices — an important supply of revenue for telecoms companies — turned into long seen as a “marketplace failure” with the aid of Brussels.

The European Commission estimates the ease of roaming fees will cost European telecom operators 1.2 billion euros ($1.3 billion).

But the percentage of revenues from roaming costs already significantly declined in current years as fees for calls and textual content messages dropped 90 percent for the reason that 2007 and data expenses declined 96 percentage because 2012 underneath EU policies.

Data site visitors, in the meantime, has grown 100-fold, consistent with the EU.

“Each time a European citizen crossed an EU border, be it for holidays, work, research or just for a day, they had to fear approximately the usage of their mobile phones and an excessive cell phone bill from the roaming charges when they came home,” Juncker and Tajani stated.

“Roaming fees will now be an aspect of the beyond.”

They noted the abolition of the exercise had “been a long time coming, with many actors concerned”.

Nevertheless, “with the aid of operating intently together, the European Union has delivered a concrete, wonderful end result for European residents”.

Smiley face

Worried by way of the upward push of eurosceptic events in recent years, the EU has seized upon the quiet of roaming to promote itself as a solution to Europe’s issues, in preference to a reason of them.

The European Commission has hung a massive colored banner down the facet of its Brussels headquarters pronouncing “Goodbye roaming charges” in English, French, and German, alongside a smiley face emoji.

Scrapping roaming prices become “an amazing day for all European residents!” stated Manfred Weber, a key best friend of German Chancellor Angela Merkel who heads the biggest institution inside the European Parliament, the centre-right European People’s Party.

Social Democrat chief Gianni Pittella of Italy meanwhile tweeted that because of the stop of roaming: “We all are a piece extra-European!”

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