1. Mobile phone roaming charges are set to be banned across the European Union from December 2015.
The measure was approved at a full meeting of the European Parliament on Thursday. This means that from the end of next year it will be illegal for European mobile phone networks to charge their customers anything extra to use their mobile phone abroad compared to what they pay at home.
Europeans on pay-as-you-go deals will be charged their usual rates while in other European countries.
And people on contracts, including those with unlimited data, will be able to use their allowances as normal.
Yes, you will be able to bore your friends with endless Facebook updates and Instagram photos from the beach at no additional cost.
2. This means that unless you’re planning a trip to Norway, Iceland, Switzerland or the Balkans you won’t need to worry about a high phone bill on your return from a European holiday.
3. Mobile phone networks aren’t happy at the prospect of losing a major revenue stream. They say they will have to put up domestic mobile phone prices as a result, a stance backed by anti-EU politicians.
5. And it’s still technically possible for individual governments to veto these new rules before they’re introduced. But this is unlikely.
Ryan Heath, a spokesman for EU Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes, told BuzzFeed that while national governments must give their approval to the ban on roaming charges this is “very very likely” to happen in September or October.
He said that British Prime Minister David Cameron, Germany’s Angela Merkel and Italy’s Matteo Renzi have already given their backing to the proposals.
“There is a chance member states will reject or amend other parts of the [telecoms legislation], but roaming and net neutrality are the parts of package with most national government support. So we would be shocked if the roaming part was amended.”
6. So prepare for your friends to bombard you with endless streams of holiday pictures from December 2015 onwards.
You have been warned.
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