28/11/2008

Roaming Mobile Phone Bill To Fall, Says Ryan

The European Union may have reached a deal that will cut exorbitant mobile phone 'roaming charges' - which have also often plagued those living or working close to either side of the Irish border.

These often accidentally incurred charges - and those made when users are actually abroad - could be a thing of the past following an agreement that should see these being cut by two-thirds.

The stepped deal has just been hammered out by EU communications ministers, including Ireland's Eamon Ryan, of the Green Party.

He has reported that they agreed to cap the price of web access and downloading emails, music and other mobile phone data.

The EC noted that, currently, the average cost of making a mobile phone call when abroad - or apparently 'abroad' when drifting into another jurisdiction's network when near the Irish border - is 46 cents a minute. It was agreed the price should fall by three cents a year so that, by July 2012, it will be 34 cents.

Also, a decrease in the cost of receiving calls on a mobile phone when abroad is to drop from the existing average of 22 cents a minute to 10 cents in less than four years time.

The EU also wants to set an upper limit on the price of sending text messages.

The roaming charges for sending texts in the EU, from July next year, should be capped at 11 cents, plus VAT, they have agreed.

Mr Ryan described it as a very positive development, saying, as Ireland was the "texting capital of the world", people should notice the price difference.

He said he believed the overall reductions would be handed on to consumers and that they would help boost the whole demand for mobile phone data.

The European Parliament is expected to agree to the changes early next year.

(BMcC/KMcA)

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