Europe is set to become a haven for free mobile usage, as European lawmakers finally agreed to end mobile roaming charges in 2017.
The agreement came at 2AM in a dialogue among member states, the European Parliament and the Commission, and wrapped up almost three years of what can only be described as an emotional rollercoaster ride for everyone involved. According to a report from Financial Times, although the final text will be sent to the European Parliament and member states being it comes into law, this is expected to be a smooth process.
Based on the agreement, roaming fees will no longer be charged to foreigners traveling to Europe in June 2017. They will however, be subject to fair use policy. As a stop-gap from 2016, roaming fees will be capped at five cents per megabyte for mobile data, five cents per minute for calls and two cents per SMS message, writes Duncan Robinson.
All parties also agreed on ?net neutrality? which promotes all net traffic to be treated equally. This means that EU will now allow specialized services such as faster streaming ? as long as this does not affect the usage of other customers. This move is said to have been welcomed by Telecom companies.
G?nther Oettinger, the German commissioner who oversees part of digital policy, said: “I welcome today’s crucial agreement to finally end roaming charges and establish pragmatic net neutrality rules throughout the EU.”
Aside from the agreement, further plans were also included in the dialogue on how to harmonize EU?s spectrum. Most of the plans were previously scrapped when member states saw the bandwidths ?which are used by telecoms companies to provide mobile internet as well as other communications technology – as a national asset potentially worth billions of euros.