EU lawmakers set date for roaming cuts vote

EU member states and the European Parliament will make a last ditch attempt to cut roaming charges for mobile phones before the summer holiday season starts.

After a key vote in the European Parliament was delayed earlier this month, lawmakers are now set to hammer out the last details on May 15 and vote on proposals to reduce roaming charges in Europe on May 21 and 24.

If the vote goes ahead as planned, telecoms ministers would be able to seal the deal on June 7, meaning European holidaymakers could benefit from reduced roaming rates this summer.

Parliamentarians and EU governments have been at loggerheads over the finer details of the proposals.

The latest compromise package put before parliament sets the maximum cost for an international call on a foreign network at Eur0.45 per minute, while the proposal for receiving a call is Eur0.20 per minute.

But the EU member states, represented by Germany, are understood to be angling more for proposed caps of Eur0.60 and Eur0.30 pre minute. Some governments argue that the European Commission’s proposal is so low, operators would end up increasing the price of domestic tariffs.

There is also some dispute over the parliamentarians’ opt in proposal, which would automatically ensure all consumer benefit from reduced roaming charges. A number of the member states however are favouring an option that would require consumers to sign up for the reduced rates.

The European Parliament is already understood to have made significant concessions in order to reach a timely compromise, but any further delays in the ratification process would likely mean the proposed price cuts would not take effect before the summer break.

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