MEPs want to put a price cap on calls and text messages from one EU country to another, arguing those rates are outrageously high for many consumers.
The European Parliament’s Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee (IMCO) voted on Monday (4 September) to lower charges on calls and text messages from phones in different EU countries as part of a draft telecoms bill.
MEPs have argued that lowering international call charges is the next step towards creating a single telecoms market for European consumers. In June, a legal ban went into effect on mobile roaming charges, which consumers paid when they used their phones as they travelled around the bloc.
The IMCO vote adds pressure on legislators to introduce price caps on international calls. MEPs in a different Parliament committee, which has the lead on the telecoms file, will vote within the next few weeks on a fully binding draft —and that version also includes measures to lower the price of calls and text messages between EU member states. MEPs in the Industry Committe (ITRE) are still debating on Tuesday whether to vote on the bill next week (11 September) or in October.
Czech Liberal MEP Dita Charanzova, who authored the IMCO committee’s opinion on the bill, said it’s an “absurd situation” that people pay higher rates to call other EU countries than for domestic calls.
“The current rates for international calls do not match the true costs of these calls. For mobile phones, especially, these charges are often extreme,” Charanzova told EURACTIV.com.