Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Crackdown on mobile surfing charges

There was good news this week that the European Commission is planning to take further action to drive down the cost of using mobile phones.

They’ve made a number of proposals to cut the cost of using mobile phones while abroad in another EU country, including introducing new price caps for using a mobile to access data, such as accessing emails or the internet.

This will be welcome whether you’re in Barcelona on business, on holiday in Helsinki or just travelling through Turin. We’re all still being charged too much for using our phones when abroad.

Already action has been taken to bring down the cost of making calls and sending texts while in another EU country, but with people increasingly using their smart phones to access the internet and online services, it’s high time we addressed this area of activity. It’s clear that many mobile operators are ripping-off off consumers with hugely inflated charges.

Of course the devil will be in the detail and we’ve yet to see the precise proposals from the Commission. These will need to be agreed by the European Parliament and EU governments before they come into force.

And we will need to watch that mobile phone operators don’t try to use these new proposals as an excuse to drive up prices for other services. After all, they have known for some time that if they did not act to end these unfairly high charges then the EU would act to protect consumers.

But it looks like an important step forward, and another clear sign of the tangible benefit of EU membership.

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