Mobile data charges within Europe are set to fall further after European Union telecoms ministers approved new caps on SMS and data tariffs on Thursday.

Under the new measures, the retail price of roaming text messages will be capped at Eur0.11, compared to a current European average of Eur0.29, while wholesale roaming data charges will be capped at Eur1 per MB.

There was also more good news for consumers as the ministers also voted to extend the duration of current regulation on voice roaming charges by three more years from 2010 to 2013.

The measures were approved as part of a raft of proposals on EU telecoms regulation and reform pushed by Information Technology commissioner Viviane Reding.

And while national regulators won the right to impose functional separation on carriers – splitting the network and services operations – Reding will have been disappointed that some of the proposals did not come to fruition.

Reding was looking for veto over the powers of national regulators, but it looks like the local authorities will retain their powers.

“There was a constructive crisis this morning at the Council meeting, as several delegations felt that the Council text agreed so far was not ambitious enough,” said Reding.

A second reading of the proposals is expected in the spring of 2009.