Regulations to slash the cost of making and taking calls in the European Union will come into effect from Saturday 30 June. The EU has from today formally adopted the regulatory caps that will cut the cost of mobile phone roaming by up to 75 per cent across the 27 countries in the EU.
The regulatory controls cap the per-minute cost of making calls to 49 euro cents (33p), and taking calls to 24 euro cents (16p), excluding VAT. The regulations were approved by EU telecoms ministers on 7 June, having been passed by the European Parliament in late May. The new regulations will be formally published on Friday, coming into force the next day.
European mobile phone customers may not enjoy cheaper roaming calls immediately, however. European telecoms operators have been given a timetable to introduce the cost cutting measures. This includes informing customers of the changes and new offers. It may take a few weeks for consumers to actually see bills reduced - but roaming charges will fall significantly when implemented.
The EU price caps introduced this summer are the first phase of a three-year price control regime. Charge caps will be further lowered in 2008 to 46 euro cents (31p) and 22 euro cents (15p). This will be reduced again in 2009 to 43 euro cents (28p) and 19 euro cents (13p).
Mobile operators have argued that the price reductions are unnecessary and will reduce competitiveness. They have raised concerns that mobile customers may have to pay more for domestic calls to make up for reduced roaming revenues. However Viviane Reding, EU Commissioner for Telecommunications, has maintained that that fierce price competition in the market would discourage operators to raise prices.