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78

European Union vote clears the way to end roaming charges, enforce net neutrality

European Union vote clears the way to end roaming charges

Free roaming within the European Union is a step closer today, after the European parliament voted in favor of laws that would abolish roaming fees between EU member states, as part of a package of telecom reforms. The package, originally proposed by EU lawmaker Neelie Kroes, moves Europe closer to a single market for mobile communication, especially with the recent arrival of 4G LTE roaming agreements between European carriers.

Should it pass muster with ministers from member nations, Europeans can look forward to roaming charges becoming a thing of the past. GigaOm reports that after clearing this final hurdle, European roaming fees could be eliminated by the end of 2015. It's worth remembering, however, that this would only affect subscribers to European mobile networks, not those from outside the EU roaming within Europe.

The EU telecoms package also included strong protections for net neutrality, making it illegal for network providers to block or impose speed restrictions on data based on the sender or recipient. It's a major victory for tech firms in Europe considering the recent setbacks faced by net neutrality in the U.S.

Source: Europa.eu; Via GigaOm

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Comments

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willboyce says:

Bout bloody time to.

Rem97 says:

Tell me about it. The rates the charge for roaming are crazy!

Kensal says:

totally...look how long it's taken..just an absolute joke....to me it's just news not exciting news....what's there to get excited about after all the years we've been ripped off and restricted from using the thing in the first place..!!

Kellzea says:

Isn't the answer to your question somewhat axiomatic? Surely the abolishment of excessive charges, especially the way they are to be abolished shows that governments and ministers can work for the betterment of people and not companies, that they can fight for your freedoms and rights and that at least some of them care about you. Sure its easier to just complain when they do bad, and then complain when they fix it that they should have fixed it before. But that's a rather cynical and unproductive attitude, attacking those that help you just means you don't get any more help.

STXVI says:

Being cynical and complaining about achievements is what defines the techy. We are never happy. We are never grateful. We must have it now...and we must have more. In fact, we must have what we don't even know we must have...and we must have even that now. :)

erzhik says:

If countries have the same currency, there shouldn't be any roaming charges.

Rem97 says:

That would make sense, except it'll exclude everyone from the UK.

Nabiscuit says:

All smart countries to protect their national sovereignty. At least they still have control over their own laws and finances unlike many EU member states.

Skunkwurx says:

yea but its also known why they stay out norway isn't even in the EU... its because all scandenavian countries have fairly sizeable gas and oil reserves not to mention supply most of europe with wood... Ireland couldn't survive out of the EU as we would have to buy in oil seperate from the rest raising the price substantialy rather than distabuted bulk purcheses as is done now... I'm right there with ya but we dont have the population or GDP to become a stand alone nation

Seaman71 says:

Norway is not part of te EU

dante501 says:

Well the UK choose not to join the Euro and keep there pound. So they should be punished. Feel the wrath of roaming charges LOL

neo158 says:

That's alright, we'll just prevent those countries using the Euro from using our mobile networks!!

dante501 says:

I lived in Germany and never used UK networks. Feel the roaming wrath lol

neo158 says:

We didn't join it for a very good reason, who the hell do you think pumped money into those countries who chose to join the failed Euro!!!!

If anything those countries who joined the Euro should be paying our roaming charges.

neo158 says:

And Poland.

tissotti says:

Kind of, but not all European countries are part of EU and even less are part of EMU, that includes euro as currency. 

In the end they are still separate countries as well.

blackprince says:

Right, like the media conglomerates of America really want Net Neutrality.

montel22 says:

The Media here sucks big time. The politics talks a bunch of shit but does nothing to change anything. They just talk out of there ass to get elected and donations from big companies.

FFugue says:

Would be nice if they did that between Canada and the US...

Aman2901 says:

Like your Avatar..

aitt says:

God Bless America?

Xaphoon148 says:

Finally a non "US only" good news :P

CGA111 says:

Makes a nice change from the never ending whining on US carriers.

gleneston says:

God Help America.

dante501 says:

Won't happen anytime soon in the USA. They are just to damn greedy here. Even the phones here are stupid carrier branded and simlocked. So much for the freedom you have in the USA LOL

Not only are the politicians and Telecoms just seriously in bed with each other (Can't risk all the campaign donations!) but the FCC is so powerless. They charge a fortune for, on a global scale, inferior service and we are stuck with 4 (or more) LTE bands! Wanna switch carriers? Nope. Gotta buy a new phone.

Most major carriers here at least don't do in national roaming charges but they should demand ALL carries use the same frequencies or require any phone to use all bands. Contract plans should be banned. If you want to switch carriers go ahead. We all pay extra in our bill for phone subsidies anyways regardless of whether we use it or not (T•Mobile excluded) so your number and remaining balance and the phone should just carry over to the next carrier when the previous ticks you off.

John20212 says:

Not only that, but the assholes in the US also charge you for receiving calls and texts; why the hell should I pay when someone calls me or texts me, something I have little control over [i.e. the texts].

 

dante501 says:

Because it is cool and we in America like paying more or less and things we don't use. How do think this country became so strong? Out if niceness? Certainly not. Out of corruption and greed? Absolutely. Sad but lately isn't much to be proud of in country. No one buy the crap we make in USA anymore. There is a reason there is almost only import but barely any export. I often think many ppl here learned there country leading skills from animals. Actually that's in insult to animals. Never mind. But then again what do u expect from a country where most ppl are relatives from refugees that either were reject's criminal's how can u expect no greed and smartness from that gene pool?

coldside says:

I suppose if the UK does decide to leave the EU, it's citizens won't be covered under the roaming and net-neutrality legislation. Would this be the case?

No because those companies operate in both the UK and Europe they have to follow the laws of both countries that would be my guess

Coman Bogdan says:

It wont leave EU.Just rummors.EU is stronger then never now and  no country will leave,cuz they cant stand the competion from China,Rusia and SUA.So we need to stick together.

 

OT:Finally ,this should have happened years ago.

neo158 says:

Really, what has the EU ever done for the UK except dump more and more immigrants on us. The sooner the UK leaves the EU the better!!!

tissotti says:

Well it has let UK to be part of a bigger tables and discussions. We are after all talking about only 3rd largest economy in Europe when it comes to UK. Country that doesn't have much of a influence in global stage these days. 

And at least we got the eurofighters made alongside Germany, UK and France. :D

John20212 says:

LOL, UK would pay a huge price if it left the EU, they already did by joining late in 1973 and not having a hand in shaping the foudations of the EU.

The best thing that could happen is for the EU to become a federal state; one nation with many states; only then can the EU be a real power player on the global stage.

Federal Europe is the future you can either accept it or be left behind and vanish into obscurity.

 

DJCBS says:

Britain's immigration problem isn't the Europeans. It's people from the former Empire. And it's not an exclusive British problem. France has it, Portugal has it even Germany has it with the Turks and Turkey was never part of any German Empire. It's a price we now pay for having once ruled the World.
At any rate, the UK will not leave the EU. It will keep the current foot in-foot out. If the UK leaves the Union it will be an economical disaster because the countries of the Commonwealth will lose interest in making deals with Britain. It's Britain that grants them easier access to the European market. If that's gone, they'll just leave Britain to rot.
Also, we should start writing "England and Wales" because Scotland would have there the finest pretext to secede from the Union. And England's economy needs Scotland.
I don't like the EU. Believe me. And I sympathise with the concerns over the excess of immigration in Europe (because we simply can't take many more people in and offer them a decent living). But Britain would be insane to leave the EU now. Better wait. The Union will most likely collapse sooner or later.

Marco Gomes1 says:

90% are there doing the work you morons dont want to do. Idiotic comment.

John20212 says:

+1
Same with hard working Mexicans in the US, and certain morons want to throw them back to Mexico not realizing that would only cripple the US economy.

This is fantastic news

infosage says:

Yea, screw the free market! Let central government planners run things! Just because that's always lead to fewer choices, less innovation, and protected poor performing big business in the past shouldn't concern anyone. They are politicians, I'm sure they will do just fine running tech companies by proxy.

endacrowley says:

Relax American!

Shhhhhh don't bring up anything that might make people question big government control, or the history of how that always ends very badly.

tissotti says:

Well it sure has worked so far. 

Europe has way lower data costs than US and it has been the one that created GSM as the world standard alongside Nokia on one decission. While in US you get different pands for different operators, that's just crazy really. 

US  and Canada has one of the world most backward market when it comes to operators. Essentially the market is the in hands of handfull of operators, while in Europe the market is totally free with all operators selling all phones and just competing with price. 

 

infosage says:

If everything is so wonderful, why the need for the new law?

So now, a data plan that gives you most access very cheap, but with a premium for data hogs, like Netflix, would be illegal?   Why?  Just don't buy that plan if it doesn't work for you.  And you're the one saying, "in Europe the market is totally free with all operators selling all phones and just competing with price." 

Also, just because someone believes centralized bureaucracies have horrible record of actually running things, doesn't mean they support the corporatism found in the US.  Certainly the minds of sophisticated Europeans can conceptualized beyond two possibilities. 
 

TheDrkBlue says:

The goverment isn't "running things" just establishing laws and regulations that *gasp* protect the consumer. I know it sounds like an insane concept, a government working to protect the people instead of just the interests of corporations but that's actually a good thing. And please tell me why an ISP should be allowed to double-dip when it comes to something like Netflix. The end consumer should have the right to use the bandwidth that they are paying for as they see fit, without an ISP punishing them for using a competing service.

Rubios says:

Because I rather have a very cheap access without the shenanigans.

Not to mention the fact that the lack of net neutrality has a lot bigger (economic and not) implications.

John20212 says:

Yes, bacause that is working out so well for you in the USA. I am glad EU politicians have some balls and brains not to allow companies to do whatever the hell they want.

It's a relief to know that the EU does not have the US policy of fuck the consumer and double-fuck the environment.

 

DennisvdG says:

How are you liking your private prisons which enslave as much non-violent drug abusers as possible so they all can buy yachts, jets and mansions? Yeah great idea...

Rubios says:

I can choose between ADSL, Cable and FTTH from ~20 different companies for my 20/50/100/300/1000 Mbps connection on 50 year old house in the outskirts of a small 250,000 hab city, I also pay €6 month for my phone connection and a bunch of calls.

Please do tell me more about how regulation sucks while you beg for Google Fiber.

endacrowley says:

European Parliament with a capital P, European Commissioner (not lawmaker) Neelie Kroes and member states (not nations). Commissioners propose laws, the EP and Council of Ministers make those proposals into directives.

AndyCalling says:

Then, of course, the directives are transcribed into law in each member state.

endacrowley says:

Exactly, thanks for adding that.

lumianut says:

Prices will rise for standard plans as carriers recoup roaming costs. Hope it works out.

Zeroplanetz says:

And its always a lose lose for the consumer. No matter in the end the high up people still get there money. Sad times.

It's called business. Customer pays in the end, always.

Zeroplanetz says:

I'm not sad about business, I'm sad at price gouging that occurs to us consumers.

AndyCalling says:

I somehow doubt it. Personally I expect that either a) competition from a truly open market will reduce costs as once roaming charges go I'll be free to subscribe to any EU carrier or b) carriers will start to have cheap plans that don't allow roaming at all and expensive plans that have no roaming restrictions, thus getting round the law. Depends on the fine print.

John20212 says:

Unlikely; to the contrary prices might fall as consumers will be free to use any EU carrier they like.

 

Rubios says:

And other carriers will keep current prices and get people to switch towards them, effectively forcing the other ones towards lower pricing, not to mention the fact that they'll be competing on a vastly bigger market now (without roaming charges there nothing really stopping me from getting my service on a french or dutch company for example).

But I can understand telecom conmpetition being a alien thig for people living in other places.

radde says:

Living in the, I am most pleased over the progress on this matter.

ttarbuck says:

So pleased this has finally happened, in the uk I pay 10p per mb but when I cross over to France it goes up to 42p per mb. Crazy!

Hopefully we'll start to see the same for Canadian-US carriers? I can always dream...

onysi says:

wont be long until EU starts following US model and each country becomes a state as the whole continent becomes united states of europe.  technology is bringing people closer.

And this is very good news for some of very small countries in europe ! 

Scatty69 says:

its good for everyone in eu not only for someone.with this,hot spot fon and some free wi-fi in bars i can enjoy net 24h when roaming

Rubios says:

“Net neutrality” means the principle according to which all internet traffic is treated equally, without discrimination, restriction or interference, independently of its sender, recipient, type, content, device, service or application.

Spot on.

lowrider2107 says:

About to go on vacation from within the EU to Turkey. Data plan there still goes for 15 Eur (!) per 10 MB (!!) per day (!!!). Unbelievable. I hope non-EU roaming will become reasonable some time soon as well.

Marco Gomes1 says:

About friggin time!!

em1ke says:

The best news ever!