Tourists and businesses have welcomed the EU's abolition of mobile phone roaming charges within the European Economic Area, which comes into effect on Thursday. As Kate King reports, it's been a long time coming.
It may not seem like Europe has been on the same page lately but it is getting cosier, at least in part. As cellphone roaming charges across the 28-nation bloc are abolished. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MUSICIAN FROM SCOTLAND, CHARLIE WILD, SAYING: "I think it's excellent. I've been in Europe for two weeks spending three pounds a day to be able to use my phone, and tomorrow I don't have to." For the past ten years there's been gradual reductions in the cost of using a phone abroad. From the 15th they'll cease, after the European Union clinched a deal in February to cap wholesale charges telecom operators pay each when people use thier phone in other countries. The cost of making INTERNATIONAL phone calls, is still to be regulated (SOUNDBITE) (English) RABOBANK, SENIOR CURRENCY STRATEGIST, JANE FOLEY, SAYING: "From the point of view of the telephone companies the consumers can push back and say well look at there is so much usage of mobile phones now there is plenty of opportunity for the companies to cover their costs and make decent profits." Providers have long fought over who would now foot the bill with wide differences in domestic prices and consumption But provisions have been put in place to ensure consumers don't take advantage. SOUNDBITE) (German) HEAD OF DIGITAL AND MEDIA TEAM AT FEDERATION OF GERMAN CONSUMER ORGANISATIONS, LINA EHRIG, SAYING: "We are trying to make sure that a German customer - for example - doesn't buy a French SIM card to get cheaper tariffs and then use it in Germany so a fair use has been included." While Europe dials in a new era the changes may not last for British travelers with Brussels keen to demonstrate the benefits of remaining in the EU. .