The cost of using your mobile phone abroad in Europe could become considerably cheaper if the EU is to have its way according to proposals outlined today.
The news will come as a great relief to phone users who travel across Europe, but is unlikely to be welcomed by the operators who have been criticised of late for confusing charging policies for roaming customers.
The European Commission said today that it aims to introduce laws that will eliminate all charges for receiving a call.
Viviane Reding, EU telecoms commissioner, said she had no choice but to use EU laws to force costs down.
"It is high time that the EU's internal market delivered substantially lower communication charges for consumers and business people travelling abroad", she said.
It also said it had given industry plenty of time to cut prices but that it had failed to listen.
"It's unacceptable that consumers are punished on their telephone bill simply for crossing a border", EU Information Society and Media Commissioner Viviane Reding told a news briefing.
In response to the news Vodafone says that it is trying to tackle the problem with Vodafone Passport a service it launched in May 2005. This service it claims helps reduce the cost of roaming for nearly 6 million Passport customers by over 30% since last year.
The company goes on to say that it "shares the Commission's desire that roaming costs be transparent and easy to understand".
And that its "Passport's ‘fixed fee plus your normal home tariff' structure is intended to ensure roamers can be confident of how much they pay".
Calls made from abroad can be up to 40 times more expensive than a standard UK national call.
A price cap on wholesale roaming charges on mobile phone calls made within the 25-nation EU will be considered by the Commission.
The plans could be formally adopted by the European Commission as early as June this year, and help European travellers from summer of 2007.