Latvia pushes ‘roam like home’ fee cap on mobile data use

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Taking up the pass from Italy, the previous holder of the EU Council Presidency Trio, Latvia is looking to push forward legislation to implement ‘roam like at home’ tariff caps on mobile phone fees on behalf of data-hungry European consumers long bewailing excessive rates upon crossing the borders of their home countries.

There are still two weeks before a first draft law is to be expected, but the proposal to be worked in means that providers of telecommunications services would not be able to charge more than maximum wholesale prices, which stand at 0.05 per minute or MB of data, but retail prices would be also prevented from ever going lower than that, reported Reuters Monday.

Using its agenda-setting prerogative to move forward with an initial draft text presented by its predecessor Italy, despite MEP’s having called for the abolishment of roaming fees in the EU altogether last year, Latvia’s delivery of the issue to discussion level at the EU Council was welcomed almost unanimously, wrote the Irish Examiner Saturday.

Once the member-state government leaders of the Council agree on their position, the legislation is then vetted amongst the European Parliament members (MEPs) and the European Commission (EC) before a final version is arrived at.

Last year the EP voted to flatten roaming fees within the EU by the end of 2015 in response to consumer complaints of high and opaque costs for using their devices abroad.

Under the current system, network providers pay a fee for each megabyte of data used by their customers abroad to their overseas counterparts, then pass this cost on to consumers in their monthly bill. But the cost to consumers for getting their data abroad is frequently much higher than at from their domestic operators. In some famous cases, travellers have received bills in the thousands of euro after getting home.

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