EU roaming charges axed

There is some good news for Scarva and Rathfriland residents as the European Parliament voted to end roaming charges by June 2017 and to set net neutrality rules for the first time in EU law.

The agreement was reach in June of this year but a time scale has now been set.

In parts of Scarva and around Rathfriland mobiles tend to switch to the Republic of Ireland network automatically which can leave users out of pocket as they have to pay the roaming charges for being in Europe and the higher rate on phone calls and texts.

The move, which will make cross border business easier, was welcomed by the European Commission Vice-President Andrus Ansip, who is responsible for the Digital Single Market.

He said: “The voice of Europeans has been heard. Today’s vote is the final result of intense efforts to put an end to roaming charges in the European Union and to safeguard the open internet.

“As from mid-June 2017, Europeans will pay the same price to use their mobile devices when travelling in the EU as they do at home.”

He continued: “And they will already pay less as from April 2016. This is not only about money; this is about bringing down barriers in the Digital Single Market. Today’s achievement is a first step towards a Telecoms Single Market.”

Commissioner Günther H. Oettinger, in charge of the Digital Economy and Society, also praised the agreement.

He said: “Today’s agreement shows that the European Union can deliver tangible results to improve the daily life of Europeans. Roaming charges will be soon old memories and we will get for the first time ever net neutrality rules in EU law.

“These rules protect the right of every European to access the content of their choice, without interference or discrimination. “

He added: “They will avoid fragmentation in the single market, creating legal certainty for businesses and making it easier for them to work across border.”