EU caps cost of phone calls between member states

Calls will cost maximum 19 cent per minute and text messages 6 cent each, ex VAT

European digital commissioner Mariya Gabriel: ‘European consumers are now comprehensively covered against bill shocks.’ Photograph: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty

European digital commissioner Mariya Gabriel: ‘European consumers are now comprehensively covered against bill shocks.’ Photograph: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty

 

European consumers making phone calls to other EU countries will have the price of their calls capped under new limits introduced by Brussels.

As of Monday, intra-EU telephone calls will be capped at a maximum of 19 cent per minute and SMS at six cent per message, not including VAT.

The measures were agreed as part of an overhaul of EU telecom rules last year and pushed for by the European Parliament. The caps are designed to help reduce the gap between the cost of domestic and international calls in the EU, which vary across different telecoms operators in the bloc.

The average standard price of an international fixed or mobile intra-EU call is three times higher than a domestic phone call, while international intra-EU text messages are more than twice as expensive, according to the European Commission.

Roaming charges

The introduction of price caps comes after the EU abolished roaming charges for European mobile users in 2017.

“European consumers are now comprehensively covered against bill shocks when calling any European number, both at home and abroad,” said Mariya Gabriel, EU digital commissioner.

“The new telecoms rules will help the EU to meet growing connectivity needs of Europeans and boost the EU’s competitiveness,” commission digital chief Andrus Ansip said in a statement. The price caps will also cover non-EU members Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein once the rules are incorporated in the European Economic Area agreement. – Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2019