Call to scrap mobile roaming charges

Labour’s Leader in the European Parliament has called for mobile roaming charges to be scrapped altogether.

“”Phone companies are still using international travel as a way of getting extra cash from customers.” said Glenis Willmott, following a vote in the European Parliament’s Industry Committee this week, which agreed  a compromise for a lowering of telephone and data roaming charges across the EU.

“Airwaves don’t recognise international borders.  So it’s unfair to charge extra for a phone call just because it goes across a national border, while the same call within a single country’s boundaries may cover a longer distance but will still be much cheaper.

“In August 2010, the European Commission accepted the principle of reducing the difference between roaming and national calls to almost zero by 2015 and Labour MEPs will be putting pressure on them to keep this commitment.

“Many of us take computers and smart phones with us when we go abroad, and high data roaming charges badly affect business and can spoil a holiday.  Roaming charges are still too complex and people are understandably worried about running up large bills when abroad.

“Consumers are paying four times the price that operators have to pay in the wholesale market for roaming calls.  This can only be controlled at an international level by an organisation like the EU.

The compromise agreed in committee this week has to be agreed by the full Parliament as a whole and then by EU governments.  Once agreed it will bring down phone charges and data roaming charges across the EU in time for this year’s summer holidays.

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