It may have been a formality, but the European Parliament has finally voted to approve a recent agreement to end exorbitant roaming charges across the European Union (EU).
The plan was originally announced two years ago, at the same time the European Commission revealed a broader digital single market (DSM) that would pull together EU rules and regulation around digital content and services — including using a mobile phone in a neighboring EU country.
While many domestic mobile networks already offer favorable pricing for those using an existing plan across the EU, the new regulations sought to end roaming fees once and for all. However, the plan to end roaming charges ran into fierce opposition from carriers concerned about profits, and for a while it seemed the proposal would be killed. But back in February this year, the Commission said that negotiators had reached an agreement on such technical issues as sharing carrier costs across networks.
The agreement was all but set in stone, but today’s vote in the Parliament gives it the official greenlight, and from June 15 this year travelers in the EU can move between countries without worrying about racking up huge bills.
“I welcome today’s positive vote of the European Parliament on wholesale roaming prices, following the agreement reached between the European Parliament, the Council, and the Commission at the beginning of the year,” said Andrus Ansip, vice president for the digital single market. “This is a great achievement for all of us. Notwithstanding the final OK from Member States, this agreement on wholesale roaming prices will be the final step to [ending] roaming charges for all travelers in the EU.”