EU in preliminary deal to scrap mobile roaming fees by mid-2017

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 29, 2015 8:49 PM

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union reached a preliminary deal on Tuesday to scrap mobile roaming charges across the 28-country bloc by June 2017 as part of an overhaul of the continent's telecoms market to boost growth and innovation.

"Under the agreement, roaming surcharges in the European Union will be abolished as of 15 June 2017," Latvia, which holds the rotating EU presidency, said in a statement after 12 hours of talks with EU lawmakers.

On the controversial issue of net neutrality, the EU plans to order telecoms operators to treat all Internet traffic equally and that blocking would only be allowed to counter cyber attacks or during peak periods.

Companies such as Deutsche Telekom, Orange and Telecom Italia had lobbied to have more leeway to tap into a potentially lucrative source of revenue but Internet activists say this could create a two-speed Internet benefiting companies with deep pockets.

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee and Julia Fioretti)