Wondering why network's roaming data rates have started to get ever so slightly more reasonable in the last few weeks? Perhaps it was out of the goodness of their own hearts? No, don't be silly...
As I've long said, networks are greedy. They push the rules to the limit and only make changes when forced - usually by the full force of the European Commission, and that is again what has happened today.
Following through on its threats to substantially cut roaming data costs if networks didn't make the necessary changes themselves (naturally, they didn't), as of now rates have been cut to one euro per megabyte. Yes that is exactly the rate Orange generously "offered" its customers last week courtesy of its Travel Data Daily tariff. On the plus side T-Mobile has beaten that with Euro Boosters which starts from 3MB for £1.
On top of this new enforcement providers are obliged to cut off their subscribers when their bill reaches 50 euros as of 1 July. This can be changed if the customer specifically wants it, though a warning must also be sent once a bill approaches 80 per cent of its chosen limit.
"Protection against data roaming bill shocks is a useful step towards building customers' confidence to use mobile networks to surf the Internet when travelling around Europe," said Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes. "Such confidence is essential if people and businesses are to use the Internet to its full potential."
Aside from the data price reductions mobile roaming calls will see the maximum rate for making a call cut to 0.43 euros and 0.19 euros for receiving one. Texts will be charged at 0.11 euros and are free to receive.
"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," said Labour European Parliamentary representative Arlene McCarthy to the Associated Press.
We couldn't agree more...
Image courtesy of Sea Sun and SMS (Facebook EU Roaming Rates Fan Site)