EU Strike Preliminary Deal to End Roaming Fees By Mid-2017

By James O Malley on at

What has the EU ever done for us? This is the question that will be on the lips of millions of voters as Britain snores its way to a referendum on our membership of the bloc in a couple of years time. Today that referendum fight might have just got a little bit more difficult for Nigel Farage and the "out" lobby, as the EU has announced plans to end mobile roaming fees by mid-2017.

This means that after 15th June 2017, when you go on holiday to another EU country, you should hopefully be able to use your phone exactly like you would in Britain, without accumulating huge bills. Brilliant.

This follows earlier EU agreements to slowly reduce in-EU roaming fees - you may have noticed a gradual decrease in how expensive using your phone abroad is over the last few years.

According to Reuters, another outcome from the same talks was the agreement on net neutrality into law - which whilst ordering ISPs to treat internet traffic equally, features ambiguous-sounding opt-outs for providing "specialised" or "higher quality" services. What this will exactly mean remains to be seen, but it is perhaps disappointing that it isn't as stringent as the US rules.

The story is doubly interesting for us in the UK, as it could potentially be a huge boon to stay "in" campaign. Roaming fees are a tangible thing that most people will understand - which is a lot easier to put on a poster than a complex and abstract argument about global governance. [Reuters]

Update: Clarified the net neutrality section to better reflect the EU agreement.