EU Reaches Preliminary Deal to Scrap Mobile Roaming Fees by mid-2017
Following 12 hours of talks, the Latvian Presidency of the Council of the European Union reached a provisional deal with the European Parliament on net neutrality rules envisaging the abolition of mobile phone roaming fees as of June 2017.
Under the agreement reached in the early hours of June 30, 2015, roaming surcharges in the European Union will be abolished as of June 15, 2017.
However, roaming providers will be able to apply a 'fair use policy' to prevent abusive use of roaming. This would include using roaming services for purposes other than periodic travel, according to a media statement of the Latvian Presidency.
Safeguards will be introduced to address the recovery of costs by operators.
Roaming fees will already go down on April 30, 2016, when the current retail caps will be replaced by a maximum surcharge of EUR 0.05 per minute for calls, EUR 0.02 for SMSs and EUR 0.05 per megabyte for data.
Under the first EU-wide open internet rules, operators will have to treat all traffic equally when providing internet access services. They may use reasonable traffic management measures.
Blocking or throttling will be allowed only in a limited number of circumstances, for instance to counter a cyber-attacks and prevent traffic congestion. Agreements on services requiring a specific level of quality will be allowed, but operators will have to ensure the general quality of internet access services.
"This is a great success for the European Union and the Latvian Presidency", stressed Anrijs Mat?ss, the Latvian Minister for Transport. "The Latvian Presidency has put a lot of effort into finalising the Telecom Single Market proposal – we revived the proposal from scratch and reached agreement. This would not have been possible without the commitment and constructive approach of the Member States, the European Parliament and the European Commission".
The Presidency will debrief Member States' ambassadors on the outcome of the trilogue at the Permanent Representatives Committee (Coreper) on June 30. The agreed text will be presented for confirmation by Member States under the Luxembourg Presidency.
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