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Europeans lower roaming charges, by legislation

Published Aug 30th, 2008 7:07AM EDT

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Here in the United States, there are not legal limits on what carriers can charge for roaming, and things can get pretty pricey if you’re on a regional plan (which most people are not). This gets to be more of a problem if you’re a social butterfly on a continent with a lot of small, densely clustered countries. Last year, the European Union introduced caps on what European carriers are allowed to charge customers who roam in the EU. The current limit is 49 euro cents per minute for outgoing calls (about 72 cents US) and is being reduced to 46 euro cents (about 67 cents US). Incoming calls currently may be billed at up to 24 euro cents (about 35 cents US) and will be dropped to 22 euro cents (about 32 cents US). Rejoice, as these limits go in to effect this Sunday, August 31. Further, the European Commission wants the EU to impose a cap on SMS roaming of about 11 to 15 euro cents (16 to 22 cents US). While the economic consequences of price ceilings are something better understood by, well, an economist, we do applaud lower tariffs (didn’t you know that you’re supposed to italicize foreign expressions?).

All of the above prices, of course, exclude European VAT (Value Added Tax), so quadruple them for a more accurate figure.