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Mobile telephony cheaper in the EU as of July 1, 2010 – continued caution in other EU countries advised.

„Just in time for the beginning of the summer holiday season, mobile telephony in other EU countries has become less expensive: the EU regulation on roaming charges stipulates a ‘Eurotariff’ as of July 1, 2010, limiting to 46.8 cents per minute the cost of mobile calls made in other EU countries and to 18 cents the cost of calls received,“ Georg Serentschy, Managing Director of RTR’s Telecommunications Division, announced, explaining the price caps set forth in the EU Roaming Regulation. „A maximum of 13.2 cents per message for text messaging was already stipulated last year, while receiving text messages abroad in the EU is free of charge. In order to benefit from these roaming rules, consumers have to choose the Eurotariff with their mobile providers. The option of agreeing with the provider on a ‘special roaming tariff’, involving other terms, continues to exist,“ Serentschy added.

Safeguards put a lid on inadvertent data roaming

Comprehensive safeguards are being introduced to protect consumers with regard to data roaming services in the future. „As of 1 July 2010, mobile operators will be required to install for their customers a function to control data roaming services. In practice this means that a maximum amount specified by the operator will apply for the use of data roaming services. If this limit is reached and the customer does not respond immediately to a message to this effect from the operator, data roaming is discontinued immediately,“ the managing director of the regulatory authority stated in explanation of the new consumer protection requirements. „Subscribers not specifying a certain maximum amount beforehand will automatically be assigned a limit of EUR 60 per monthly settlement period as of July 1. But caution is advised: these safeguard regulations apply in EU countries only,“ Serentschy pointed out.

Caution: mobile phone use outside of the EU can be overly expensive

In holiday destinations outside of the EU, such as in Croatia, Turkey or in countries on other continents, the use of a mobile phone can still result in very high bills. „The situation for non-EU countries remains unchanged: consumers should obtain, as up to now, detailed information on roaming charges from their mobile operators before leaving on holidays. Making phone calls, sending MMS messages and especially surfing the internet with a mobile phone or using mobile data services, for instance via a UMTS data card, can cost several thousands euros,“ Serentschy warned.
Detailed information on roaming as well as tips for mobile phone use abroad can be found on the RTR website by following the Consumer services link.

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