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Fall of the roaming empire: EU ends cell tour costs

The EU on Thursday rang ultimately of roaming expenses for Europeans using cellular telephones inside the bloc, in what under-pressure Brussels hailed as one in every of its best successes.

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A decade in the making, the flow is available in time for the summer time holidays while thousands and thousands of Europeans might be at the flow, and is a public member of the family coup at a time while the bloc is under fireplace over Brexit and different troubles.My Update Studio

It manner Europeans calling, texting or using the internet when journeying in different EU countries could be charged the same as they are at home, rather than grossly inflated charges main to “bill surprise” on their return.

“The European Union is about bringing human beings collectively and making their lives less difficult. The give up of roaming costs is a real European success tale,” European Commission leader Jean-Claude Juncker and European Parliament head Antonio Tajani stated in a declaration.

“From now on, residents who tour in the EU could be in a position to name, text and join on their mobile gadgets on the identical fee as they pay at home. Eliminating roaming expenses is one of the finest and most tangible successes of the EU.”

The exchange covers the complete of the 28-nation bloc as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway, which aren’t EU participants, however, a part of the affiliated European Economic Area.

“I suppose it’s first-rate. It makes it simpler to be on holiday and with the intention to use my cellphone everywhere,” said Vebjorn Kallelid, 20, a Norwegian traveler on holiday in Stockholm.

‘Well played EU’

It stays to be visible whether or not Britons will keep enjoying identical-cost mobile calls and facts downloads in Europe after Britain’s departure from the EU, negotiations for which can be due to start the subsequent week.

That question has seen the EU’s roaming success win guide from some uncommon quarters across the Channel.

“Well performed EU,” tweeted Gary Lineker, the former England soccer captain and now a bunch on BBC television.

Another ex-footballer-became media pundit, Stan Collymore, stated on Twitter: “Roaming charges abolished these days inside the EU, so you received to pay a penny more over your UK phone tariff when inside the EU! Until Brexit. Enjoy!”

The existence of roaming costs — a vital source of sales for telecoms companies — changed into long visible as a “market failure” through Brussels.

The European Commission estimates the end of roaming fees will value European telecom operators 1.2 billion euros ($1.Three billion).

But the share of revenues from roaming charges already drastically declined in current years as costs for calls and text messages dropped ninety percent on the grounds that 2007 and records prices declined 96 percent given that 2012 under EU policies.

Data traffic, in the meantime, has grown 100-fold, according to the EU.

“Each time a European citizen crossed an EU border, be it for holidays, paintings, research or just for a day, they needed to fear about using their mobile phones and a high telephone invoice from the roaming expenses once they came home,” Juncker and Tajani stated.

“Roaming charges will now be a factor of the past.”

They noted the abolition of the practice had “been a long time coming, with many actors worried”.

Nevertheless, “through operating carefully together, the European Union has added a concrete, positive end result for European citizens”.

Smiley face

Worried with the aid of the rise of eurosceptic parties in recent years, the EU has seized upon the stop of roaming to sell itself as an approach to Europe’s issues, as opposed to a purpose of them.

The European Commission has hung a massive colored banner down the aspect of its Brussels headquarters saying “Goodbye roaming charges” in English, French, and German, along with a smiley face emoji.

Scrapping roaming expenses turned into “an awesome day for all European citizens!” said Manfred Weber, a key ally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel who heads the biggest organization in the European Parliament, the centre-proper European People’s Party.

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