Staying in Touch - Upto 70% Cheaper This Summer?

By: Gary Parsons

A recent announcement about mobile phone roaming charges by Viviane Reding - EU Commissioner for Information Society and Media has been a shining light for people using their mobile phones when travelling abroad this summer.

Unfortunately many MEP's want new customers to be the only ones to automatically benefit from these savings, meaning that those with existing mobile phone deals will need to contact their networks before travelling, to Opt In or face high bills when returning home.

Many of the major mobile operators, with support from the GSM Association, have responded with a letter to the members of parliament; calling for them to take their current measures of making roaming charges clear to customers into account. They claim that other European mobile operators also agree with policymakers on the need for customers to be well informed about these charges.

It is yet to be decided whether the Mobile Operators or European Union (EU) should foot the cost when advertising the new price cut. If the EU is left paying these costs then it will be the taxpayer footing the bill.

With more meetings scheduled for April and May and a formal EU Telecom council meeting in Luxembourg sometime during June; the regulation appears to be in need of further discussion before any decisions are made.

You are best to prepare for your trip early if planning to go away before the summer, contacting your mobile network directly to find out the costs of making and receiving calls. Vodafone currently have several products to help reduce costs, namely the 'Vodafone Passport' and 'International Call Saver' which differ depending on the frequency you travel. Other networks have also helped reduce roaming charges, with the 'International Traveller Service' from O2 and '3 like home' from mobile phone operator 3.

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