The EU's (European Union's) 27 governments today gave a final thumbs up to a proposed law that will slash the cost of using a mobile phone abroad. By the end of this month mobile phone operators have to offer mobile phone users a capped rate for making or receiving calls while outside their own countries.
The EU law will cut roaming mobile phone costs by around 70 percent, the German government said today.
In the first year, roaming tariffs will be capped at €0.49 (33p) a minute for making calls abroad and €0.24 for receiving them. It will fall to €0.46 and €0.22 in the second year, and €0.43 and €0.19 in the third, respectively.
Mobile phone operators have lobbied hard to avert the law, which they see as unnecessary and harmful to competition.
A rearguard action by Industry Minister Margaret Hodge in defence of mobile phone operators was thwarted. The UK government has been convinced to support the compromise package put forward by the European Parliament.
German Economy Minister Michael Glos was chairing the meeting because Germany currently holds the six-month rotating presidency of the EU.
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