5 Apr 2014

Europe takes lead on mobile roaming

12:19 pm on 5 April 2014

Europe is banning mobile phone roaming costs in a move it hopes will serve as a model countries in other regions can follow.

The European Parliament this week approved a long-gestating plan to end roaming charges for calls, texts and internet data across the 28-nation European Union by the end of next year.

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Photo: PHOTO NZ

From December 2015, consumers who buy a phone plan in any one of the EU's member nations will be able to use it in the other 27 without extra charges or costs.

People with plans bought outside the EU will still be hit with roaming charges. But the change means tourists could, for example, buy a single plan in the UK and use it throughout the continent.

EU Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes said she could not be happier with the result.

"This is what the EU is all about: getting rid of barriers to make life easier and less expensive."

Ms Kroes' spokesman, Ryan Heath, said the EU's model could eventually be adapted into a global agreement, ending mobile roaming bill shock once and for all.

The European Parliament's vote needs to be approved by the EU's member states but given the abolition of roaming costs is so popular, that is not expected to be a problem.