Sun, Sea, & SMS: mobile text rip off roaming costs slashed

Mobile phone roaming bills usually make our eyes water. But new EU 'roaming' rules taking effect from today will please those planning their summer holidays.

Sending an SMS from another country inside the EU back to the UK used to cost an average of around 30p. This is now capped at the equivalent of 11 euro cents (around 10p). Receiving text messages remains free.

Making calls to an EU country is now also capped at around 40p (€0.43) per minute (plus VAT) or the national currency's equivalent, while the cost for receiving calls have also dropped from €0.22 to €0.19. The new rules also dictate that mobile operators must bill customers for roaming calls by the second after the first 30 seconds. This is expected to cut bills by a further 20%.

Customers can now also choose a capping mechanism for a billing limit. The price for downloads will also be capped at a reduced wholesale price of €1 per megabyte downloaded, compared with the previous average EU wholesale price of €1.68. This should minimize nasty surprises, such as the £21k Vodafone bill a British family received for downloading an episode of Top Gear and Kavanagh QC while on holiday.

This move is clearly long anticipated by holidaymakers fed up of ridiculous call charges, and is a great first move in opening up our international communication channels. The commissions plan further cuts in the future, and I'm sure most consumers would welcome this long overdue move. The prediction of the effect of the new rules is to reduce the cost of mobile phone usage abroad by at least 60%.

Do any of you hold off frequent travelling and holidays because you worry about how you can communicate with loved ones back home without being totally ripped off? Does this news change any of your summer holiday plans, or how frequent you plan to utilize your mobile abroad? Let's hear your opinion.



  • Tom P.
    Is that a new fangled mobile phone box those dudes are carrying?
  • The S.
    looks like a new speed boat thang they (illegals) use to beat the uk border agency & reach the gold paved streets of London, via Dover, from froggy Sangatte camp
  • j
    if it's €1 per mb why is o2 still charging £3
  • Peter G.
    [WARNING: The following includes a plug to my own site]. Viviane Reding and the EU have made good strides into reducing mobile phone roaming charges, but the cost of using the mobile internet is still very confusing for most mobile phone users in the UK. Users don't understand the charging structures and there is still a significant variance in the costs applicable on the different tariffs. For example, the cost for transferring 1MB of data per day for a month from a mobile phone ranges from £6/month to £210/month. MobileMeg ( has been created to help reduce this confusion and provide clarity on the cost of the mobile internet. The site includes a guide on mobile data services; a comparison of over 200 of the mobile phone price plans used in the UK, and a personal usage calculator to help estimate data charges.

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