Scots MEP Welcomes New Roaming Rules

01 July 2009
SNP MEP Alyn Smith has today welcomed the new EU roaming rules which come into force today (July 1) and hailed it a great boost for Scots holidaymakers.

The new roaming rules will cap the price that consumers can be charged for sending a text message while abroad at 0.11 euro (compared to a current average of around 0.29 euro) thus bringing down the prices for roamed SMS by 60%.

Furthermore, the new law will reduce the cost of surfing the web or downloading movies with mobile phones while abroad by introducing a wholesale cap of 1 per MB downloaded (this cap will go down to 0.80 euro in 2010 and to 0.50 euro in 2011).

The European Commission has long targeted phone companies for charging unjustifiably high roaming charges. Last year the European Commission and Parliament successfully slashed the costs operators can charge for roaming mobile calls to other EU countries.

The new roaming rules were proposed by the Commission in September 2008 and received the broad support of the EU's 27 Telecoms Ministers in November last year. The European Parliament formally approved, by a large majority, the new EU roaming rules in April 2 followed by the Council of EU Telecoms Ministers on 8 June.

Speaking from Fife, Smith said:

"Today's adoption is fantastic news and the new roaming rules will bring instant benefits to Scots holidaymakers and business travellers alike. Consumers will save an estimated 5 billion euros a year, leaving more holiday money in peoples' back pockets. As someone who has to use their mobile abroad on a regular basis, I'll confess this is good news for me too.

"Text messaging is big business across Europe and the European Parliament has today demonstrated that it is fully committed to slashing rates and protecting EU citizens from unjustifiably high phone charges.

"With the UK population sending more than one billion text messages per week, consumers can have peace of mind that they can stay in touch with their family and log on to Facebook and other sites for a great deal cheaper. I am delighted these measures have been passed in time for the summer holiday season."