The cost of using your mobile phone abroad could be about to get a lot cheaper. A European Union committee has approved a proposal to cut mobile roaming charges perhaps by up to 70 per cent.
Currently, the cost of using your mobile abroad varies wildly from country to country, and the EU plans to combat this by placing caps on how much telecoms companies can charge. Now that the bill has been passed by the sub-committee, the proposal will go forward to the European Parliament for the stamp of approval.
The European Commission says that European phone companies are making profits of £5.7bn every year from excessive roaming charges. This contrasts with the view of the companies themselves who say they have to charge more in order to compensate for foreign companies charging for connecting cross-country calls.
"We have one member state where at present you pay five euro cents per minute," said Paul Rubig, the Euro MP in charge of the bill.
"If you go outside this member state and phone home, you pay three euros. Nobody can explain why that is justified."
Many people are finding that even just receiving calls whilst abroad is costing them a lot of money. Pay-as-you-go customers who top up before going on holiday often find that their credit is totally used up just by receiving a couple of calls from home.
If all goes to plan, the roaming caps could be in place in time for the summer holiday period, although this depends on individual EU countries agreeing with the proposals.