The European Commission is persisting in its efforts to bring about further accessibility to consumers roaming within its borders by further standardising the cost of voice calls, Short Message Service (SMS) and data transfer across the European Union whilst roaming. A new roaming regulation which will be updating the current one should be announced on the 6th July 2011 The regulation must be approved by the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers before being implemented.
The new regulation intends to further cap data roaming fees, namely those fees which apply when mobile phone users access the Internet whilst abroad. Currently, such users must be notified when their bill reaches €50 per month; however no limit on data roaming costs has been imposed. Under the new regulation, data roaming prices would be capped as of July 2012 at €90 cents per megabyte. This is to decrease even further to a cap of €50 cents per megabyte by July 2014. It may be useful to note that one hour of instant messaging uses around 0.25 to 1 megabyte, one hour of web browsing could use anything from 1.5 to 25 megabytes, downloading one hundred emails could use between 1 to 10 megabytes, downloading one MP3 track could use up to 8 megabytes, and downloading one movie could require 700 to 1500 megabytes.
Another measure being proposed by the new regulation intends to enable subscribers to access the voice, SMS and data roaming services of any interconnected alternative roaming provider whilst retaining the same mobile number.
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