30.06.15

EU Parliament and Council agree to abolish roaming surcharges in EU

cep expert Bert Van Roosebeke cautions that an important detail of the agreement remains unclear

EU Commissioner Oettinger praises "crucial agreement"

Almost two years after the EU Commission put forward its proposal for a telecoms single market, an agreement was found with the European Parliament and the Council, the Commission said in a press statement. Under the provisional deal, roaming surcharges in the EU will be abolished as of June 15, 2017, the Latvian EU presidency said. However, roaming providers will be able to apply a ‘fair use policy’ to prevent abuse of roaming. This would include using roaming services for purposes other than periodic travel, it said.

Moreover, the agreement includes “strong net neutrality rules protecting the right of every European to access Internet content, without discrimination,” the EU Commission said. Under the first EU-wide open internet rules, operators will have to treat all traffic equally when providing internet access services. Blocking or throttling will be allowed only in a limited number of circumstances, for example to counter cyber-attacs and prevent traffic congestion, the Latvian EU presidency said.

“I welcome today's crucial agreement to finally end roaming charges and establish pragmatic net neutrality rules throughout the EU,” the EU Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society, Günther Oettinger, said. cep expert Bert Van Roosebeke, however, cautioned that “it remains totally unclear what a ‘fair use policy’ really means.”