Great news, European iPhone owners. Starting in 2014, roaming charges for voice calls, text messages, and cellular data access will end for members of the European Union’s 27 member countries looking to travel within Europe. Specifically, it is hoped that such roaming charges will be abolished on July 1, 2014, so be sure to plan any forthcoming vacations accordingly!
Roaming fees for voice calls, texts and internet access will effectively be completely scrapped under the proposals, which are part of a broader effort to create a single European telecoms market. The group of 27 European Commissioners voted in Brussels on Tuesday to drive the package through in time for the European elections in May next year, to come into force as soon as 1 July 2014.
For those living outside of the European Union, roaming charges will still apply, however.
The proposed change comes as the European Commission hopes to consolidate carriers and encourage investment. Across Europe’s 27 member countries there are some 100 carriers, many of which are owned by the same parent company (such as Deutsch Telekom). “There are around 100 operators in Europe and only four in the U.S. That’s not sustainable if we’re going to have a single market and investment. [...] The aim is a single market, but if it means we get fewer, stronger operators, that’s good,” one source told The Telegraph.
As noted above, the planned change could come into effect as soon as July 1, 2014. We’ll keep you updated with further information concerning this story as we receive it.