Mobile calls in EU capped at 19c per minute

The European Parliament has approved rules that cap intra-EU calls and create an alert system for emergencies

The price for cross-border mobile phone calls and messaging will now be capped
The price for cross-border mobile phone calls and messaging will now be capped

Cross-border EU calls will be capped at 19c per minute and text messages at 6c after MEPs approved rules that will also make superfast 5G networks possible by 2020.

The European Parliament on Wednesday confirmed the provisional agreement reached with the Council of Ministers in June.

The new rules will offer citizens high-speed connectivity and make calls secure and affordable within the EU, while providing the necessary predictability for telecom operators to boost investments in high-speed internet.

The Roam Like at Home policy put an end to roaming fees in 2017. The new legislation caps calls to another EU country. The capping mechanism will come into force on 15 May, 2019.

The rules protect smartphone users better, including users of web-based services like Skype and WhatsApp, and strengthens security requirements, including encryption.

Mobile phone users will have the right to retain a telephone number for up to one month after a contract has terminated and the right to a refund of unused pre-paid credit upon contract termination, as well as compensation in the case of delay in or abuse of switching.

Member states will have to facilitate the rollout of 5G, by making suitable spectrum available by 2020.

MEPs also voted for the creation of a ‘reverse 112’ system through which citizens across the EU would be alerted by SMS or mobile apps in the case of a major emergency or disaster. Member states will have 42 months to the system in place.

Labour MEP Marlene Mizzi said she was proud of having pushed pushed for the finalisation of this legislation as shadow rapporteur for the S&D.

She said the new rules would provide citizens with tangible benefits. 

Nationalist MEP Francis Zammit Dimech also welcomed the decision, insisting that it would also open the door to more investment in the mobile telephony sector.

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