European roaming charges move a step closer to the scrap-heap

European roaming charges will be a thing of the past by December 2015 after Members of the European Parliament [MEPs] voted to pass reforms that include a ban on the fees charged when travelling outside your home country.

Related: European roaming charges to be scrapped by December 2015 as mobile operators warn bills will rise

The change, which will harmonise call and data charges across the continent so they are the same as at home, will take effect from 15 December 2015 and still need to be approved by the European Union [EU] member state governments.

“By managing the radio spectrum more efficiently, more space would be freed up for mobile data and 4G/5G deployment. In a separate vote, MEPs will also decide on new rules to give people, companies and public authorities an easy and secure way to sign and certify online documents,” stated a news release.

Europe is choosing to make the changes for two main reasons: price and quality. A survey published by the European Commission back in February found that a massive 94 per cent of Europeans that travel outside their home country limit their Internet usage, such as social media, due to roaming charges.

In addition to this, the telecoms regulator, the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications [BEREC], stated that a number of Internet providers were slowing VoIP services and this is something that must be addressed.

Network providers have warned that abolishing the roaming charges across the continent will mean that bills for consumers will rise and that those that don’t use roaming services will effectively be paying for those that are.

Related: EU plans telecoms overhaul by scrapping roaming fees and cutting costs

The latest changes come after the EU stated that from July 2014 the wholesale cost of roaming will be limited to 5 cents per megabyte of data and per voice call made plus 2 cents per text message.

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