(TechCrunch) – The European Union has agreed a preliminary deal to scrap mobile roaming charges across the region by June 2017. The European Parliament previously voted to scrap roaming fees by the end of this year — but the European Council pushed to keep them in place until the end of 2018. The European lawmakers have now apparently agreed a third way of mid 2017.
Roaming charges will also be significantly reduced by next summer, with data roaming fees capped at five cents per megabyte, calls capped at five cents per minute, and SMS capped at two cents per text.
The deal was agreed late last night — the culmination of multi-year negotiations between the European Commission, Council and Parliament. The package they have agreed will now be put to representatives from the 28 European Member State counties for confirmation. The agreed text has not yet been published.
The negotiations are part of Europe’s Telecoms Single Market initiative, set out back in 2013, with the grand aim of boosting the region’s global competitiveness and fostering digital jobs by reducing market fragmentation. The original plan also aimed to reform and harmonize spectrum auctions. But that proposal fell by the wayside during the years of wrangling required to get to today’s consensus agreement.