EU backtracks on data roaming charges

The EU is set to back-track on plans to abolish data roaming charges, according to the BBC.

EU backtracks on data roaming charges

Indications that the EU would drop the plans, due to take effect in December, began to emerge at the beginning of March. However, the BBC claims to have seen documents that will see the measures postponed until at least 2018. The documents also allegedly encourage carriers add surcharges to their domestic rates. Quite how much these surcharges will be isn’t clear – the EU has brought in progressively lower caps on how much extra networks can charge for roaming over the past few years, but there’s no indication whether this will continue.

The BBC reports: “The proposals were said to be ‘transitional’ and mindful of ‘wholesale costs’ incurred by the mobile operators.”

One particular group of MEPs, the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE), told the BBC it would fight “vigorously” for an end to data roaming by the end of 2015 and said the current proposals lacked “ambition”.

Some networks, such as Three in the UK, have already taken it upon themselves to scrap data roaming both inside and outside of Europe, although mostly not across the entire 28-nation bloc.

Customers will doubtless find the decision disappointing, however another element of the same document may perk them up a bit.

Under proposed net neutrality rules, members of the public will be able to access the internet by any means they desire, with ISPs prevented from “discriminating” against websites providing legal content. Quite how this will sit with countries like the UK, where ISPs are obliged to have porn filters, is unclear.

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