EU wants ban on roaming charges extended by 10 years


A woman takes a phone call at Schiphol Airport, Netherlands on Jan 21, 2021. The EU says that the removal of charges has seen data roaming soar, with usage increasing 17 times in the summer of 2019 compared to 2016. — AFP

BRUSSELS: The European Commission on Feb 24 proposed extending a ban on mobile telephone roaming charges across the EU for an additional 10 years.

The bloc in 2017 ditched the fees that were a major headache for mobile users travelling between European countries in a move hailed as one of the single market’s major successes.

The current rules were due to expire in 2022. They would now be extended for a decade beyond that under the commission's proposal.

“The end of roaming charges is a prime example of how the EU keeps millions of citizens connected and improves their lives,” EU competition chief Margrethe Vestager said in a statement.

“The new rules will keep roaming at no extra charges and make it even better.”

The commission said the new regulation would aim to ensure “consumers will be entitled to have the same quality and speed of their mobile network connection abroad as at home, where equivalent networks are available”.

The EU says that the removal of charges has seen data roaming soar, with usage increasing 17 times in the summer of 2019 compared to 2016.

The current regulation also covers non-EU members Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway – but not the United Kingdom after it completed its exit from the bloc. – AFP

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