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EU Parliament Ends Cell Phone Roaming Charges in 2017

The European Parliament  approved a plan to ban roaming charges from being imposed on consumers when they travel within the EU with their cell phones.


An interim period starts next April when roaming should become 75 percent cheaper, according to the European Commission. Then mid June 2017, EU cell phone users will pay the same price throughout the union as in their home country.


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Yes, it will apply to prepaid plans, which many Europeans as well as visitors use, but it's not  as happily absolute as some of the celebrators make it sound. The final June 2017 step depends on a reform of the European wholesale roaming market in which carriers pay each other for roaming use, and is also subject to limits for those who roam "too much."


Here's a quote from one of the Parliament members who was a leading proponent of the law (which also originally included provisions for net neutrality as well.)


Others weren't as thrilled about the law. Commenting on her website, Julia Reda, MEP for the European Pirate Party, said that both the net neutrality law and the roaming charges ban failed to deliver on their promise. "The plan to place an end to roaming surcharges in Europe has been adopted pending a review of pricing and consumption patterns," Reda writes. "Even if the review is completed by the 15 June 2017 deadline, roaming surcharges will only be suspended up to a 'fair use' limit beyond which they still apply and continue to hinder the breaking down of barriers within Europe.”


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