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Last Updated: Sunday, 30 September 2007, 05:52 GMT 06:52 UK
EU mobile phone charges reduced
Woman listening to a mobile phone
The cost of talking abroad has become much cheaper
Mobile phone calls within the EU have become cheaper under new limits set by the European Commission.

The Commission has established limits on the amount mobile phone companies can charge their customers.

Operators can now charge a maximum of around 34 pence a minute for making calls, and 17 pence to receive a call.

The move has been welcomed by consumer groups, but some say charges are still too high when using a mobile phone outside the European Union.

The new rules do not apply to text messaging nor internet access on a mobile phone. The European Commission says those prices are high, and it hopes operators will lower them voluntarily.

BBC correspondent Sumant Bhatia said that in some cases, the new tariffs would be less than half the rate charged by networks earlier this year.

And those costs are expected to fall further over the next two years.

The European Telecoms Commissioner, Viviane Reding, also wants to reduce so-called termination charges - the cost of transferring calls from one network to another.

She said: "We hope we've now seen the last of excessive roaming charges.

"The Commission will, however, continue to monitor prices, in particular for SMS and data roaming, to make sure consumers do not suffer in other ways and to ensure after three years there is no longer a need to regulate.

"I hope that operators now understand the EU's ability to act. My message to them: Move now and bring SMS and data roaming charges down quickly, or we will be forced to also intervene there very shortly."

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