The bane of 'bill shock' looks set to remain for Brits using their mobile phones abroad, as politicians in Brussels performed a U-turn on plans to axe roaming charges across Europe.
Most smartphone owners will be aware that using the Internet via their mobile device abroad leads to eye-wateringly expensive fees, and countless travellers have arrived home to find a hefty bill.
The European Union had promised to put an end to such fees by the end of this year, but have unexpectedly backtracked, allowing roaming charges to remain until at least 2018, and possibly long into the future.
Back in 2013, when the ban was first ordered, it understandably proved unpopular with mobile operators, who insisted that the sky-high fees were necessary to cover the cost charged by foreign operators to carry data. But since each network provider charges every other provider for the same service, many argued that it was simply a tax on customers.
Now EU ministers have backtracked, saying phone companies need more time to deal with the slide in profits the ban would likely cause. A review has been scheduled for 2018, when the powers that be will look again at the market to see whether providers are offering better value for money for roaming packages.
Mathew Howett, telecoms analyst at Ovum, told the Daily Mail: "They were going to be abolished but that has been pushed back more or less indefinitely. Customers are now relying on the market to deliver."
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