Roaming fees ruse leaves consumers disgruntled

European consumer groups want mobile phone tariffs capped at 0.33 euros (22 pence) per minute for customers roaming outside their home country.

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On 12July, the Commission proposed cutting by 70% the cost of making and receiving calls while travelling in another European Union member state, saving European consumers €5 billion (£3.4bn) a year, according to the Commission's figures.

Under the Commission's proposal, operators will be allowed to charge no more than €0.16 per minute for calls received while travelling abroad, €0.33 per minute for calls made within the country being visited, or €0.49 per minute for calls made back home or to a third country while abroad.

However, that's still too much for the consumer groups, which called for charges of €0.16, €0.25 and 0.33 per minute, respectively.

European telecommunications ministers are expected to discuss the Commission's proposed regulations at informal meetings alongside the Cebit trade show in Hanover, Germany, next month, while the European Parliament will vote on the proposals in April. Germany, which holds the rotating presidency of the European Union, has announced its intention to push the legislation on roaming prices through by the end of June, when its term of office ends.

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