International Roaming Charges to Fall in Europe

Travelers to Western Europe may soon have an easier time staying connected, the New York Times is reporting.

Over the next three years, the report says, the fees that consumers pay to browse the Internet with smartphones and tablets may be cut by as much as 78 percent, under a plan being proposed by the European Commission on Wednesday. That will be welcome news to travelers, many of whom don’t realize the high cost of roaming fees until they get bills totaling hundreds of dollars or more.

The commission will propose that mobile data roaming fees, which according to the commission average 2.23 euros, or $3.22, a megabyte in the 27-nation bloc, be capped at 90 euro cents starting July 1, 2012. The cap would fall to 70 euro cents a year later, and to 50 euro cents by July 1, 2014. A minute of music or about 80 Web page downloads contain about a megabyte of data.

In addition, the charges to make a voice call while traveling, at present 35 euro cents a minute, would fall to 24 euro cents by July 1, 2014. Roaming charges to receive a call, and to send a short text message, would fall to 10 cents from 11 cents by the same date.

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