The cost of using mobiles phones across Europe could fall after the EU opted to cap "roaming" charges.
It is expected that the amount charged by phone operators for using mobiles abroad could be reduced by up to 75 per cent, something that will be welcomed by travellers who rely on their phones while on holiday.
It is expected that around 150 million people could see a reduction in their call costs, although the legislation is unlikely to be enforced until late 2007 after the peak summer holiday months.
There has been escalating pressure on mobile phone providers to reduce their overseas and roaming call costs, especially after it was discovered that consumers were paying varying amounts based on their country of residence.
"It's a great day for consumers, whether they are tourists or business travellers ... their telephone bills will melt away," said EU telecoms commissioner Viviane Reding.
"The regulation will protect the vast majority of ordinary customers who up to now have been heavily overcharged when travelling abroad," she added.
The new plans will see the cost of a mobile call made in the EU capped to 49 cents (33p) a minute and receiving a call would cost just 24 cents (16p). Over the long-term, the costs would eventually fall to just 43 cents and 19 cents within the next three years.
However, the sending of text and picture messages will not be covered by the new legislation and mobile companies will still be able to charge varying rates for these services.
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