The EU parliament building where the landmark decision was reached
The EU parliament building where the landmark decision was reached

If there’s a guaranteed way to increase your mobile bill, it is using your phone outside of your home country but for customers in Europe, this will soon be a thing of the past. The European Parliament has today formally approved rules that will see mobile roaming charges abolished within the EU by mid-2017 and significantly reduced next summer.

[related_videos title=”Top phones of 2015:” align=”left” type=”custom” videos=”651620,650937,651295,650695,650307,650057″]From June 15, 2017 EU customers will be able to use their smart device within Europe and pay the same rates as if at home, meaning a customer in the UK can travel to France and use their phone as if they were still in the UK.

Ahead of this major change, roaming costs in Europe will be heavily reduced from April next year as new rules will limit how much carriers can charge on top of domestic costs when travelling abroad. Currently, carriers can charge up to €0.50 per minute on calls but this will be reduced to €0.05 on top of domestic costs. SMS and data also get reduced to €0.02 on top of domestic prices for SMS and €0.05 per MB of data used when roaming.

The ruling also has significant implications for users of streaming services such as BBC iPlayer and Netflix as new net neutrality legislation means users across the EU can access content without restrictions. At present, accessing BBC iPlayer while roaming abroad requires a VPN – although the BBC is already blocking access to some VPNs – but once the new rules come into force, you’ll no longer need a VPN to access it anywhere in Europe.

European Commission vice president Andrus Ansip, responsible for the Digital Single Market, said:

“The voice of Europeans has been heard. Today’s vote is the final result of intense efforts to put an end to roaming charges in the European Union and to safeguard the open internet.
“As from mid-June 2017, Europeans will pay the same price to use their mobile devices when travelling in the EU as they do at home. And they will already pay less as from April 2016.
“This is not only about money, this is about bringing down barriers in the Digital Single Market. Today’s achievement is a first step towards a Telecoms Single Market.”

As a user who travels to Europe frequently, it’s safe to say that the new rules will save me a lot of money and it’s great for any user that travels, frequently or infrequently. However, the new roaming rules don’t apply to outside of the EU which means carriers may seek to recoup lost revenue through increase general charges and/or additional roaming costs outside the EU.

What do you think of the new changes and do you travel frequently enough to save significant sums of money? Let us know in the comments below guys!