Mobile phone roaming charges to be banned in EU from June 2017

Roaming charges for using mobile phones while abroad in the EU are to be banned following approval from the European Parliament.

Fees for calling, sending text messages and using the mobile internet will be scrapped from June 15, 2017.

The change means mobile users within the EU will be charged the same as they would at home.

Spanish MEP Pilar del Castillo, who championed the reforms, said: "Thanks to this agreement, Europe will also become the only region in world which legally guarantees open internet and net neutrality.

"This abolition of roaming surcharges has been long awaited by everybody: ordinary people, start-ups, SMEs and all kinds of organisations."

From the end of April next year, the fees are being reduced as part of a transitional period. Under that, roaming surcharges must not exceed €0.05 per minute for outgoing voice calls, €0.02 for text messages or €0.05 per megabyte of mobile internet use.

A cap on charges for incoming voice calls is due to be set later this year and is expected to be lower than for outgoing calls.

Ukip opposed scrapping roaming charges, saying doing so would increase domestic bills and penalise those who do not travel.

Under the complete ban from June 2017, if operators can prove they cannot recover their costs and that this affects domestic prices, they may be able to impose minimal surcharges in exceptional cases.

The changes also mean no internet users in the EU will be unfairly blocked or slowed down.This means, for example, that access to a start-up's website will not be slowed down to make way for bigger companies.