The European Parliament today approved the Single Market Telecommunications Regulation. Spanish MEP Pilar del Castillo, European Parliament Rapporteur and responsible for the negotiations, said that the end of roaming charges is a tangible example of the added value of the European Union.
Del Castillo stated: "Thanks to the determination shown by the Parliament we have achieved the objectives we set out: first, the abolition of the additional costs consumers face when they access Internet or communicate by phone outside their country, and the establishment of the necessary guarantees for equal access to an open Internet, thereby ensuring neutral network behaviour."
The Single Market Telecommunications Regulation includes as a fundamental measure the end of roaming charges for voice, SMS and data as of 15 June 2017.
Before that date, on 30 April 2016, a transitional period will begin during which roaming charges will be greatly reduced in many cases to a quarter of the price users pay today. During this transition period, the maximum fee that operators may apply will be 5 cents per minute for calls (compared to the current 19 cents), 2 cents per SMS (compared to the current 6) and 5 cents per megabyte data (compared to the current 20).
Del Castillo continued: "With this Regulation, Europe becomes the first region in the world to provide guarantees of a legislative nature on equal access to the Internet to ensure that all traffic is treated without discrimination, restrictions or interference." These guarantees will be applied automatically in the 28 Member States of the EU.
The EPP Group MEP stressed the importance of these measures: "They clearly and directly benefit consumers. With the end of roaming charges, a barrier which is incompatible with the Single Market will disappear for 500 million Europeans."
The EPP Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 217 Members from 27 Member States