The Council of EU Telecoms Ministers has agreed to force caps on the price of roamed data and text messages, to €0.11 and €1 per MB respectively, to be introduced in July next year.
The cap on text pricing is retail, while the data cap refers to the wholesale price that network operators charge each other. That should in turn lead to reduced prices for customers wanting to surf the web while abroad, and (more importantly) reinforce the public perception of the EU as the consumer's champion.
"We want to avoid so-called bill shock, when someone gets back from a holiday and gets a nasty surprise," said Luc Chatel, French minister for industry and consumer affairs, while Viviane Reding went further: "It shows that Europe is first and foremost supposed to be there for its citizens."
The deal will still have to be approved by the European Parliament, which shouldn't be a problem and is scheduled to happen next Spring, putting the measure in place for July 1 2009. Until then roaming data users might like to try this excellent price comparison service.
The average price of sending a text while roaming stands at €0.29 today, so the reduction will have considerable impact for holiday makers wanting to send 160-character messages home, while the reduction in the price of roaming should further reduce the need for Wi-Fi when jet-setting. ®