Mobile roaming charges have been slashed across Europe, as the cost of accessing the mobile internet abroad falls by more than 50%.
From the start of July, smartphone users visiting more than 40 European countries will be less likely to be victims of “bill shock” when they return home, as the cost of downloading one megabyte of data has fallen dramatically.
Operators can now only charge a maximum of €0.20 (16p) a megabyte, plus VAT for using the mobile internet - such as for browsing websites, updating social networks and accessing online maps. This is much less than the 70c charged in 2012 and 45c charged last year. The new figure works out at roughly 19p per megabyte for UK consumers. Repeated reductions means mobile data abroad is now 25 times cheaper than it was in 2010.
But what does this mean in the real world?
The European Commission has provided a guide to explain how many megabytes are used to perform common smartphone tasks. For example, checking Google Maps once will use up about 1MB; half an hour of Facebook use is roughly 5MB; uploading a photograph to the web or a social network is about 2MB; watching a 10 minute YouTube video is 5MB, and browsing news sites for 10 minutes is also around 5MB, costing £1.
Calls and texts also cut
The cost of making calls and sending texts has also been cut. Making a call has fallen from 24 to 19 cents per minute; receiving a call has fallen from seven cents to five cents, and sending a text message is down from eight to six cents.
‘This is not enough’
Neelie Kroes, the EU Commission vice resident who has campaigned relentlessly for lower roaming rates said: "This huge drop in data roaming prices will make a big difference to all of us this summer. But it is not enough. Why should we have roaming charges at all in a single market? By the end of this year I hope we see the complete end of roaming charges agreed – the Parliament has done their part, now it is up to Member States to seal the deal!"
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Source: European Commission