New EU rules limit Internet charges for cell phone

March 1, 2010 By LESLIE PATTON , Associated Press Writer

(AP) -- Mobile phone operators must now limit how much they charge customers for using the Internet within the European Union, after new rules went into effect Monday.

Customers have until July 1 to set a maximum monthly cost with their network, and those who do not will by default have a euro50 ($68) limit set.

Networks will send a warning when customers use up 80 percent of their allotment. At the limit, they will be cut off.

The European Commission has pressed networks into slashing roaming charges, leading to a 35 percent drop in the average cell phone bill to about euro20 a month, according to EU data.

But until now the cost of online surfing had remained unchanged. The EU office noted that German traveler was billed euro46,000 after watching a TV show in 2009 while roaming online in France, and a British student was charged euro9,000 for a month's roaming while studying abroad.

By setting a monthly Internet limit, the European Commission hopes that "the tendency for operators will be to bring the price of surfing the Web down," EU spokesman Jonathan Todd said.

Neelie Kroes, the new EU digital issues commissioner, called the new measure a step in "building customers' confidence to surf the Internet when traveling in Europe."

Network operators can now charge each other no more than 1euro per megabyte for downloading. National telecoms regulators are responsible for enforcing the rules with mobile phone operators, and the EU commission will report on the issue by June 2011.

Arlene McCarthy, a British Labourite in the European Parliament who was instrumental in pushing through the roaming legislation, said "European consumers can now determine just how much they're willing to spend on their mobile while they're abroad.

"It's a shame that despite the huge numbers of complaints, mobile operators dragged their feet and we have had to use the full force of the law to get consumers a fair deal on prices," she added.

Explore further: EU site lists wireless roaming charges


Related Stories

EU site lists wireless roaming charges

October 4, 2005

Europeans now have a concise Web site they can use to avoid the pitfalls of roaming charges while using their cell phones on the road.

EU travellers to get cheaper mobile messages

March 24, 2009

European travellers will pay less to send text messages and access the internet via mobile phone networks, under a compromise deal thrashed out by EU negotiators Tuesday, a spokesman said.

Recommended for you

Toyota promises better mileage and ride with Prius hybrid

October 13, 2015

Toyota Motor Corp. released details for its fourth-generation Prius on Tuesday, promising that improvements in the battery, engine, wind resistance and weight mean better mileage for the world's top-selling hybrid car.

Facebook to test mobile app shopping tab

October 12, 2015

Facebook said Monday that it will begin testing a shopping tab for its mobile app as it works to ramp up advertising and online commerce offerings.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.