In a landmark ruling, the European parliament has today voted to scrap mobile phone roaming fees across the EU from December 2015, and also stop service providers from crippling 3rd party services such as Skype which are used for data calls on the move.
The vote, which was approved by 534 votes to 25 is a huge win for European mobile phone users, who have been suffering from punitive roaming fees for data and voice calls since the start of the cell phone revolution. The decision was part of a far reaching vote on all aspects of Internet supply across the European region, including ensuring that net neutrality – the responsibility Internet providers have to supply a standard quality of service to all users – is also protected.
Mobile phone roaming fees have long been a contentious issue, with some users having to pay huge bills from vacation use, a phenomenon known as ‘bill shock’. In one recent case a London mother returned from a vacation in Turkey to find herself facing a £20,000 bill for sending back Facebook photos of her holiday. From 2015, using a mobile phone in Europe should cost no more than using it in your home country, whether for SMS, voice or data.
The other good news of the day is the fact that the parliament has specifically mentioned moves aimed at developing and improving 4G and 5G data services throughout Europe. A good day for European communications and the Internet in general.