The prices mobile uses pay for voice, text and mobile data when using devices in the European Union (EU) could be reduced further than originally proposed after a group of MEPs pushed for even lower costs than first proposed by the European Commission (EC).
The Industry Committee's proposals would mean the maximum price operators can charge one another for mobile data access would fall to €0.25 by July 2012, €0.15 by July 2013 and €0.05 by July 2014, each a reduction of €0.05 on the EC's first proposals.
This would correlate to a maximum that end-users could be charged for using data services abroad of €0.50 per megabyte by 2012, €0.30 by 2014 and €0.20 by 2014.
Meanwhile, the maximum retail prices customers can be charged for voice calls will be reduced to as low as €0.15 by July 2014, rather than €0.24 as first proposed, while SMS charges will hit €0.05 by 2014, instead of a cap of €0.10.
The amended proposals were backed by 55 votes to five by the Industry Committee
The changes would benefit both consumers and businesses, said German rapporteur Angelika Niebler.
"We need to stimulate real competition among mobile operators and guarantee fair roaming prices for EU consumers who are on holiday or travelling for work", she said.
The proposals will now go before the entire Parliament for a vote, likely to take place in April.
The increased reductions were welcomed by Christian Salbaing, deputy chairman of Hutchison, which owns UK telecoms operators Three and which recently called on the government to push for even lower roaming charges.
"The committee's proposed data caps will pave the way for greater competition and lower consumer prices. This proposal is a great result for smartphone and mobile data users across Europe," he said.
"We urge the parliament to make these proposals a reality."
The proposals are unlikely to be welcomed by all though, with Vodafone group chief executive Vittorio Colao arguing at Mobile World Congressthis week that regulations from the EC were hampering operators ability to invest in future network deployments, a claim dismissed by EC digital chief Neelie Kroes.
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