EU officially caps roaming charges across Europe, makes data 36 percent cheaper and teases further cuts

Starting today, anyone hopping between EU member countries with their smartphone will see roaming charge caps substantially cut across networks and services. As promised by the EU Commission's VP Neelie Kroes last week, new price caps will drop call charges by "at least 17 percent," while receiving calls are reduced by 12 percent per minute starting today. Text message costs are down 11 percent, while (perhaps most importantly) data charges across networks in Europe have been cut by 36 percent, down to 45 Euro cents per MB -- 91 percent cheaper than they were in 2007.

The commission says it has managed achieve price reductions of over 80 percent across mobile services in the last six years, but it isn't done there. Further price caps are promised for the same time next year too, as you can see after the break, with roaming data charges set to be further halved (down to 20 cents) by July 2014, with voice calls and text charges also seeing further, admittedly less substantial, reductions. Now, let's see how the EU fares on those ridding the old country of throttled data speeds.

Image credit: Die Bundeskanzlerin

EU officially caps roaming charges across Europe, makes data 36 percent cheaper and teases further cuts

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New lower price caps for mobile roaming from 1 July: data 36% cheaper; roaming in Croatia 15 times cheaper

From 1 July 2013, the European Union's Roaming Regulation will lower the price caps for data downloads by 36%, making it much cheaper to use maps, watch videos, check emails and update social networks while travelling across the EU. Data roaming will now be up to 91% cheaper in 2013 compared to 2007. During this period the volume of the data roaming market has grown 630%. These two trends mean both consumers and mobile operators have significant new opportunities thanks to EU efforts.

The EU has achieved retail price reductions across calls, SMS and data of over 80% since 2007.

Each year, Europeans make several million visits to Croatia, which joins the EU on 1 July. This year visitors to Croatia will enjoy spectacular savings as the cost for data decreases almost 15 times and sending a SMS or making a phone call elsewhere in the EU will be 10 times cheaper.

Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes said: "The EU has to be relevant to people's lives. The latest price cuts put more money in your pocket for summer, and are a critical step towards getting rid of these premiums once and for all. This is good for both consumers and companies, because it takes fear out of the market, and it grows the market.

The new prices caps, which enter into force on 1st July 2013, are:

Downloading data or browsing the Internet - 45 cents / Megabyte (MB) (charged per Kilobyte used) + VAT. (36% reduction compared to 2012)
Making calls - 24 cents / minute + VAT (17% reduction compared to 2012)
Receiving a call - 7 cents / minute + VAT (12.5% reduction compared to 2012)
Sending a text message - 8 cents + VAT (11% reduction compared to 2012)
Operators are free to offer cheaper rates, and some have already begun to remove roaming premiums altogether for voice and SMS, or offer a roaming-free area region across one section of Europe or another.