EU legislation that sees the cost of using a mobile phone in Europe slashed comes into force today.

Network operators now have to limit the price of sending a text message while in the EU to €0.11 (9p) from its current cost of up to €0.28 (24p). Calling is being capped at €0.43 (36p) per minute instead of €0.46 (39p).

Receiving texts while in EU will be free and charges for receiving calls will be limited to €0.19 (16p) per minute, instead of the current €0.22 (19p).

The cost of surfing the web from a handset abroad has also been slashed, with wholesale prices capped at €1 (85p) per megabyte downloaded. This cap is expected to fall to €0.80 (68p) in 2010 and to €0.50 (42p) in 2011.

Under the new legislation, mobile phone users will also be given per-second billing after the first 30 seconds of a call and will be automatically cut-off once a bill hits €50 (£42) to prevent 'bill shocks'.

"This marks the definite end of the roaming rip-off in Europe," said EU Telecoms Commissioner Viviane Reding