The end to mobile roaming charges forpeople using their phones while travelling in the EU is a step closer following a provisional deal made today to cap wholesale charges.
The European Parliament agreed a deal to cap the prices that telecoms operators pay for using each others networks.
The full European Parliament and EU member states must now confirm the deal.
It will be the final deal to be agreed before roaming charges can officially be scrapped.
Once agreed, data usage, calls and text messages will cost you the same in any EU country, as they do in the UK.
Dr Emmanuel Mallia, the Maltese Minister for competitiveness and digital, maritime and services economy, said: This decision is the final step in a process that started 10 years ago.
From next summer, wherever they are travelling in Europe, citizens will be able to make calls, send texts, surf and stay connected. Roam like at home is now a reality.
An interim cap came into effect in April last year making roaming within the EU 75 per cent cheaper during the interim period.
The new rules should prevent consumers receiving shock bills when they return from a trip abroad. These have becomemore common since the smartphone market exploded and mobile data consumption soared.
Ernest Doku, telecoms expert at uSwitch.com said more than one in ten customers whove been outside the EU in the past year have received a higher than normal bill averaging 103.
He said: Were one step closer to the end of roaming charges in the EU just as the UK is making its preparations to leave. As such, it remains to be seen if Britain truly stands to benefit from this provisional deal.
Price caps have insulated against bill shock from using a mobile whilst abroad in EU countries for some, whilst protection also exists in the form of specific tariffs including Threes Feel At Home and iD Mobiles Takeaway.
These packages already allow roaming at no extra charge both in numerous European destinations and further afield, including the USA and Australia.
Doku advised consumers to check their networks roamingcharges for their destination country before they travel and see if theres a bundle or add-on that could limit the cost.
Other advice whilst overseas includes using free Wi-Fi and messaging apps to stay in touch with friends and family, switch your roaming setting off to avoid any accidental charges, and consider buying a local SIM to put in your phone, he said.
UK consumers will benefit from the agreement while the country remains a member of the EU, butafter that it will depend on what agreement is made in the Brexit negotiations.
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