MEPs adopt mobile roaming ‘bill shock’ proposals

Clearer information on data and SMS roaming costs

Consumers are set to benefit from clearer information about the cost of using their mobile phones to download data and send SMS messages when abroad after a committee of MEPs backed a recent report on the issue.

The parliament is currently considering whether to extend the EU’s cap on voice roaming costs to cover both data and text messages. Its internal market committee is leading the parliament’s response to the consumer protection elements of the regulation, whilst the parliament’s industry committee will decide on the price caps themselves.

The report calls for greater transparency on the costs of data and text roaming. Whenever consumers cross into another EU country, they will receive details of data and SMS pricing information. A cut-off limit will also be set so that when downloading data abroad, users will be notified if their spend exceeds their limit.

Sir Robert has said that he does not believe a retail price cap is the best option for reducing roaming call costs, but that the increased transparency in this report will end the ‘bill shock’ many consumers face when returning home.

He said:

“We often hear stories of people who unwittingly download videos on their mobile phone whilst abroad, only to return to a bill of several thousand pounds. These proposals will put an end to ‘bill shock’ by providing users with clearer information.

“When abroad, users will be able to set a limit on how much they spend on downloads, and they will be prompted before they can go above this limit.

“Consumers need clearer information about how much they are spending when abroad to prevent the nasty surprises too many have received when they open their bills.”

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