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Sweden set for cheaper EU roaming charges

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Sweden set for cheaper EU roaming charges
Checking your Facebook account from abroad will soon be cheaper. Photo: Evan Vucci/TT
17:13 CET+01:00
Roaming charges that currently mean EU mobile phone users are charged extra if they are in another member state, are finally set to be scrapped after years of wrangling.
The move - which will affect Sweden and all other 28 EU members - comes after the European Parliament finally gave the green light to a ban on roaming charges in a vote on Tuesday.
 
But Europeans living in other states will have to wait a while before their phone bills come down, with the ban not set to come into full force until June 15th 2017.
 
The extra costs have long been at the centre of a battle between EU officials backed by consumer groups, and mobile operators.
 
Roaming charges currently vary enormously between telecoms operators and many users have ended up paying exorbitant rates -- often without knowing in advance -- to make calls when travelling within the European Union.
 
Commission Vice-President Andrus Ansip, responsible for the Digital Single Market, said following the announcement: 
 
"Today's vote is the final result of intense efforts to put an end to roaming charges in the European Union and to safeguard the open internet.
 
"As from mid-June 2017, Europeans will pay the same price to use their mobile devices when travelling in the EU as they do at home. And they will already pay less as from April 2016."
 
An interim cap on the extra costs will kick in from April 30th 2016, before the full ban takes effect the year after.
 
That cap will mean operators can only add a surcharge of no more than:
 
- €0.05 (0.46 kronor) extra per minute for calls
- €0.02 (0.18 kronor) extra per text message sent
- €0.05 (0.46 kronor) extra per megabyte of data used
 
But while the ban in theory sounds like great news for anyone with a mobile phone who likes to travel, critics have issued warnings.
 
They say suggest any dip in profits for the mobile phone companies will simply push up prices of mobile phone contracts in general.
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