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European Parliament Votes to Approve Cuts on Roaming Charges

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The European Parliament, in its plenary session in Strasbourg, has voted to approve new rules on SMS and mobile data charges when roaming. The Parliament also voted for further cuts in the price of mobile phone calls while roaming in another EU country. The present cap for a mobile phone call made abroad will progressively drop from EUR0.46 to EUR0.35 per minute by July 2011, and from EUR0.22 today to EUR0.11 for mobile calls received while roaming abroad.¬

A text message sent from abroad within the European Union will cost no more than EUR0.11 as of 1 July, instead of EUR0.28 today. Mobile operators will also be required to bill roaming voice calls by the second.

The Commission expects that European consumers will save up to 60% on their bill for using a mobile phone abroad in the EU.

"I welcome the strong support the European Parliament has today given the Commission's proposal for creating a single telecoms markets for all Europeans, whether they are crossing a border as tourists or as business travellers," said Josť Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission. "After this vote, Europe is now clearly the most attractive continent in the world for mobile phone users. I expect this to translate very swiftly into even stronger growth for mobile data services in the EU."

Following today's Parliament vote, the new EU Roaming Regulation will become directly applicable law throughout all 27 EU Member States on 1 July 2009.

The new roaming rules, which add to a first EU regulation on voice roaming adopted in 2007, will apply until summer 2012. The European Parliament has asked the Commission to report on the functioning of the new rules again by summer 2010. The Commission could then propose further rules, if required, by the end of June 2011. "The development of the roaming market will be kept under close EU scrutiny over the next three years", said Commissioner Reding. "I very much hope that the mobile industry will understand this message. The ball is now in their court if they want to show that there can be healthy competition in the roaming market. The best proof of this would be if attractive voice and data roaming packages appear on the market very soon."

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