New lower European Union roaming charges brought in by the European Commission (EC) come into effect today, slashing the price of making a call from abroad to 33p per minute.
The new charges are €0.11 (9.4p) for sending a text, and caps of €0.39 (33p) for making a call and €0.15 (13p) for receiving a call when abroad.
The directive also imposes per-second billing after 30 seconds for roaming calls made when abroad, and from the first second for calls received abroad. A cut-off mechanism has been introduced once the bill reaches €50 (£42) to avoid "bill shocks", said the EC.
"From today, all Europeans making calls or sending texts with their mobiles can experience the EU's single market without borders," said EU telecoms commissioner Viviane Reding.
"The roaming rip-off is now coming to an end, thanks to the determined action of the EC, the European Parliament and all 27 EU member states."
Data charges have also been cut, with a new wholesale cap of €1 (85p) per megabyte, falling to €0.80 (68p) in 2010 and €0.50 (43p) in 2011.
The new rules build on the first EU Roaming Regulation and will last until summer 2012. The European Parliament and Council have asked the EC to report on the new rules by summer 2010, after which time the EC could propose further cuts.
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