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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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Reader comments

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

78 Comments

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..!!

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.

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. :)

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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].

 

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?

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

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.

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!!!

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

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.

 

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.

+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.

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.

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

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. 

 

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. 
 

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.

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.

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.

 

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...

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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

“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.

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.