May 10 2012
Consumer Champion on Air Fares
The European Parliament is building a name for itself as the consumers’ champion.
As the holiday season approaches, the European Parliament has taken action to reduce the cost of mobile phones on the Continent. We voted in the European Parliament to ensure bills on mobile phone calls for travelers in Europe will come down as from 1st July this year, 2012.
After a vote of the full session of the European Parliament in Brussels today price reductions will be in place in time for the summer holidays.
Labour Euro-MPs voted to regulate not simply the cost of making calls from abroad and receiving calls from home, but also to bring down the charges for “data roaming” when holidaymakers want to download information from the internet.
The changes should see the cost of making a call drop this year from around 30p/min to 20p/min and the cost of sending a text will fall to 7p. Further changes will follow with the cost of making a call set to fall to 12 p/min – or less – by 2014. Data roaming costs will also be capped for the first time with 1MB costing 40p.
The mobile phone companies have been ripping off holidaymakers for too long – it has got to stop.
The barrier charging different rates across national boundaries is totally artificial – phone signals don’t know they’ve crossed a border so why should you be charged more? This week’s vote will bring prices down considerably and UK citizens travelling abroad this summer will really feel the difference in their pocket. It will be cheaper to make a call, send a text or check Facebook or the football scores online.
If roaming prices have not come all the way down to domestic levels by 2016, then the European Commission will be obliged to propose additional legislation to ensure that roaming charges are identical to domestic prices.
We wanted to get rid of roaming charges altogether but unfortunately the right wing MEPs in the European Parliament supported the phone companies and we had to agree on a temporary measure.
When you’re travelling, you often want to download data, to find out about places to visit, for example. So there will be a dramatic reduction in prices particularly for internet use.
We have also set in place ‘bill-shock protection’, set at 50 Euros, so that customers are warned by text if they are approaching their limit while travelling.
Being in the European Union means you can live, work, study or holiday anywhere within the EU so you should not be charged anymore!