MEPs vote to scrap mobile roaming fees in Europe

Smartphone The cost of phone calls abroad has been gradually reduced by the EU

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The European Parliament has voted to scrap the roaming fees charged for using a mobile phone while abroad.

Under the wide-ranging telecoms reforms, the cost of making a call or downloading internet data in another EU country will be the same as at home.

The change is due to take effect from 15 December next year. It still requires approval from EU governments.

Some consumers have faced bills for thousands of pounds after falling foul of current high roaming charges.

In recent years the EU has legislated to lower the costs, so telecoms operators have been forced to cap their fees.

A European Commission survey in February suggested that 94% of Europeans limit their use of the web when travelling in Europe because of the cost of mobile roaming.

The package was adopted by 534 votes to 25.

Last year the cap for internet browsing was lowered to 45 cents (39 pence) per MB, from 70 euro cents (60 pence) per MB in 2012.

The EU Commissioner for the Digital Agenda, Neelie Kroes, has said "consumers are fed up with being ripped off".

The new rules come at a time when users are consuming ever more data on mobiles and tablet devices. As 4G networks offer even faster download speeds, data consumption is expected to rise exponentially.

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