EU cuts mobile data roaming by 36% in Europe, making Internet access abroad a whole lot cheaper

EU cuts mobile data roaming by 36% in Europe, making Internet access abroad a whole lot cheaper

The price caps for mobile data roaming in Europe have been slashed by 36 percent today, making it far cheaper for travelers to connect to the Internet with their smartphone or tablet when they travel abroad.

Downloading data is now capped at 45 cents per megabyte, in addition to VAT. The cost of making a call has also been lowered to 24 cents per minute, a 17 percent reduction in comparison to 2012.

For too long, accessing the Internet while traveling in Europe has been an incredibly expensive and stressful experience. The cost varies between mobile operators, but it’s usually so pricy that most people turn off their device’s Internet connection as soon as they cross the border, rendering it useless for anything other than texts and calls.

The new price caps are no doubt an improvement, and will make data roaming at least an option for those who are desperate to check Google Maps or their email inbox on the move.

“The latest price cuts put more money in your pocket for summer, and are a critical step towards getting rid of these premiums once and for all,” Neelie Kroes, Vice President of the European Commission said.

“This is good for both consumers and companies, because it takes fear out of the market, and it grows the market.”

The rate for receiving a call has also been reduced to 7 cents per minute, a 12.5 percent reduction from 2012, while the cost of sending a text message has also dropped to 8 cents plus VAT.

The new price caps introduced today also include a new, reduced set of wholesale rates for network operators. These dictate the maximum amount that carriers can charge one another to supply mobile services to their domestic subscribers when they travel aboard.

Data has dropped to 15 cents per megabyte, with voice calls and text messages falling to 15 cents per minute and 3 cents respectively.

The European Commission has promised further price cuts to those announced today, however. On the consumer side, the cap on mobile data roaming will drop yet again to 20 cents per megabyte in July 2014, with calls hitting just 19 cents per minute.

Image Credit: ALEXANDER KLEIN/AFP/GettyImages

Read next: First full Firefox OS smartphones to launch “this week” as operators around the world ready them for market