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EU brings down roaming mobile-phone call costs to 19 euro cents a minute

  • The Euro parliament has approved legislation preparing the ground for the introduction of 'big data' 5G services

It was good news for European consumers last week when the European Parliament voted in favour of a new EU-wide Electronic Communications Code.

The document brings together different communications laws and prepares Europe for the introduction of 5G networks, which the EU has estimated could need 500 to 600 billion euros' investment, mostly from private operators.

The EU wants to guarantee operators who buy network licences a minimum 20-year contract to encourage them to invest in the services known as 'big data', including artificial intelligence and robotics.

In terms of call costs, a decision was taken that from 15 May 2019, the price to call between two EU countries will be 19 cents a minute, and six cents for an SMS.

Despite the introduction of EU-wide roaming in June last year, operators generally continue charging high call tariffs for these types of conversations. For example, it can cost 60 cents per minute to call a Belgian mobile from a Spanish mobile and 1.50 euros vice versa. However, Spain is one of the countries where these costs have come down the most since the introduction of roaming, by up to 70 per cent.

The EU rejected operators' objections that there was enough competition in the market already from upstart services like WhatsApp.