EU attacks roaming charges

Early this month, a British holiday maker for a £31,500 phone bill for downloading Prison Break on his mobile phone.

The latest EU proposals won't stop this happening to another unsuspecting traveller, but they could cut down on the cost of sending texts, as well as ringtone downloads.

EU telecoms commissioner Viviane Reding has called for the cost of sending texts when abroad to be more than halved.

And European authorities are also expected to announce a clampdown on mobile ringtone services that offer "free" downloads, which then actually turn out to be tied to expensive monthly contracts.

According to The Guardian, the EU's consumer protection chief Meglena Kuneva has investigated more than 500 such services across the EU.

As a result of her findings, national regulators could be asked to take legal action against ringtone providers that do not explain to consumers that they are going to get tied into a contract.

Kuneva is also expected to urge that any company selling subscription services - which cost consumers several pounds a day - to be barred from using the term "free" on promotional texts and adverts.

In the UK, measures are expected to be annouced soon by PhonepayPlus's and are designed to make it very clear to consumers what they are paying and what they will get when they sign up.

For texts, the EU wants the charge slashed to €0.12.

Reding is also going to take on telecoms company and fight for them to reduce the cost of using the internet abroad through a mobile phone.

The average cost of downloading 1MB of data in the EU is currently €5.24 (£4).


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