MEPs have welcomed plans for a new deal to cut mobile phone data roaming charges in Europe, during a debate in the European Parliament on 9 May 2012.
Under rules set to be approved by the European Parliament, it will be less expensive to make calls and download data abroad.
From July 2012, consumers will pay no more than 29 cents (24p) per minute to make a call and 70 cents (59p) per megabyte for data downloads across Europe.
By July 2014, the new roaming charges will fall further so consumers will pay no more than 19 cents (15p) to make a call and 20 cents (16p) per megabyte of data.
The cost of receiving a call will fall to 5 cents (4p) and sending a text to 6 cents (5p).
Currently, the limit on what can be charged for making a call is around 30p and sending a text about 9p. But there is no cap on what companies can charge per megabyte for data.
Consumers will also be able to shop around for the best deal and sign up for a separate mobile contract using their existing number.
The EU Commissioner for the Digital Agenda, Neelie Kroes, urged MEPs to back the deal, arguing that high roaming charges are an obstacle to the single market and an irritant to people in Europe.
MEPs lined up to endorse the proposals, although some members, whilst supporting the new deal, did not believe it went far enough.
Pirate Party MEP Christian Engström thought it was a missed opportunity, arguing that roaming charges should have been cut further.
Belgian Green MEP Philippe Lambert agreed, saying that that operators' margins were still too big, and amounted to a "swindle".
Meanwhile British Conservative MEP Vicky Ford feared mobile phone operators might pass the cost of the cap onto domestic consumers, by increasing their bills.
MEPs approved the deal to cut roaming charges within the EU during the
on 10 May 2012.
to how the plenary sessions work.
on the use of simultaneous interpretations, on the European Parliament's website.