ALDE Successes: End of roaming charges

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Last year EU citizens saw the abolition of retail roaming charges on voice calls, data and SMS via mobile, enabling us to call and transfer data across borders from another EU Member State for the same cost as at home.

MEP Jens Rohde, ALDE shadow rapporteur and a leading parliamentarian in the fight to end roaming charges said: “This has been a long journey and an arduous process, but finally we have delivered on the promises we made to our voters. Today we consign outrageous additional roaming charges to the history books.

MEP Fredrick Federley, ALDE Coordinator on EP’s Industry, Research and Energy Committee (ITRE) said: “Getting rid of roaming within the EU is a victory for free mobility, which will allow people to work from anywhere in Europe. It’s absurd that we’ve had to tolerate such high roaming costs in Europe for so long, they should have been abolished long ago.“

Abolition of roaming charges was a big success for ALDE and the EP but, what’s next? ALDE is currently discussing 5G and intra-EU calls with the European Communication Code. Those two points are quite important, first for the innovation and implementation of a connected continent, and the second one will be like a second phase of roaming.

While not all EU Member States are yet enjoying 4G connection, ALDE is already pushing for 5G as the next step and our MEPs are trying to put some pressure on the Council to get something out of the negotiations. On the other hand, calls between one Member State and another should not have extra costs if when we travel abroad we can call our countries without extra charges. Long-distance intra-EU calls should cost the same as calling within the same country, according to a draft law approved by the end of last year.

MEP Kaja Kallas, shadowing this legislation for the ALDE in the EP said:

“The compromise adopted has the potential to deliver a functional digital single market within the European Union, with modernized rules that will help to deliver very high speed internet for all, in particular investments in 5G networks. With the rise of modern communication technologies available to our citizens, it is our job to ensure the right environment for innovation, competition, but also security of our citizens’ communication. This is the first time we adopt, in European legislation, a clear ban on encryption backdoors, essential for security of communication services. I urge the governments of EU Member States to respond ambitiously to our proposals in the negotiations ahead of us.”

EU communications companies should justify when they charge additional fees to users calling from mobiles or landlines to another EU Member State, Committee MEPs agreed. The Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) would set out guidelines on how service providers could recover the costs they incur in other ways.

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