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EU draws up draft legislation to cap roaming charges

All members must approve text and data caps

The European Commission is forcing network operators to cut the cost of texting and surfing the web from their mobile phones when abroad.

Under draft legislation, which must be approved by all member states before it comes in to force, says mobile phone users will pay no more than €0.11 (10p) per text to the current maximum charge of €0.49 (46p).

Data roaming prices will be capped at €1 (93p) per MB from July 2009. By July 2010 then will be slashed even further to €0.80 (75p) per MB and in July 2011 they will fall to €0.50 (47p) per MB.

The EU also said the legislation extends the cap of roaming charges on voice calls until June 2012 and requires users to be automatically cut-off from surfing the web from their handset once their bill has reached €50 (£47) ensuring huge bills are no longer a problem.

Romania's EU representative Adina-Ioana Valean told Reuters: "I am hopeful that all parties will endorse a concrete first-reading agreement so that European consumers can fully benefit from this new regulation by the beginning of this summer".

However, Martin Whitehead of the GSM Association said: "We don't agree with the extension of the existing regulation".

European telecommunications commissioner Vivanne Reading first proposed the romaing charge caps last year.

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See also: EU roaming cap for SMS and mobile internet


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