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EU to tackle rip-off roaming text and internet charges

July 15, 2008 9:28 AM

Local LibDem Euro-MP Liz Lynne has welcomed plans to be announced by the European Commission today aimed at reducing the price of mobile texting and mobile internet use abroad.

Plans for new legislation follow the refusal of many phone firms to reduce overseas texting prices and the cost of mobile internet access while abroad. The average cost of a roaming text message in the EU is now 29 euro cents (23p), but for some is as high as 80 cents (64p). UK customer's pay up to 50 cents (40p) per text message from abroad compared to the equivalent of 15 cents (12p) domestically.

Speaking today, Liz Lynne said:

"Paying almost four times as much to send a text when abroad smacks of corporate excess .All too often people return from their holidays only to be stung by a huge phone bill. As someone who regularly uses a UK mobile in other European countries, I know first hand how expensive it can be."

"New rules will be proposed in the autumn but in the meantime I can only advise people to be careful when texting or using the internet on their mobile phones while abroad. It is a mystery how anyone can justify charging thousands for downloading programmes and checking emails, so clearly action on this is needed."


Notes to Editors

The European Commission has released figures showing that current tariffs for texts sent abroad are between 25% and 80% higher than fees for domestic text messages. The smallest differences are seen in Latvia and in Luxembourg (25% more than local SMS), while the greatest occur in Belgium (80%), the Netherlands (75%) and the UK (50%).

In February, the European Commission called on operators to cut the price of sending a cross border text message or face legislation, but many phone companies have failed to act.

Last year, the European Commission set limits on roaming charges for mobile phone calls across the EU.