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MEPs vote to cap the price of phone calls

MEPs vote to cap the price of phone calls

Phone and laptop

(STRASBOURG) - The European Parliament approved Wednesday the EU's telecoms package that caps intra-EU calls, makes super-fast 5G networks possible by 2020 and creates alert system for emergencies.

By their vote, MEPs confirmed a provisional agreement reached with the Council of Ministers in June on the European Electronic Communications Code (EECC).

The new rules will offer citizens high-speed connectivity and make calls secure and affordable within the EU, while providing the necessary predictability for telecom operators to boost investments in high-speed internet.

"The Code gives operators a more predictable investment environment, which is crucial to develop 5G communications," said rapporteur Pilar del Castillo Vera MEP.

The 'Roam Like at Home' policy put an end to roaming fees in 2017. The new legislation caps calls to another EU country at 19 cents and at 6 cents for text messages (SMS) from 15 May 2019, making it affordable for everyone to stay in contact with loved ones in other EU member states.

It also protects smartphone users better, including users of web-based services (Skype, WhatsApp, etc.) and strengthens security requirements, including encryption. It introduces the right to retain a telephone number for up to one month after a contract has terminated and the right to a refund of unused pre-paid credit upon contract termination, as well as compensation in the case of delay in or abuse of switching.

Finally, EU Member States will have to facilitate the roll-out of 5G, by making suitable spectrum available by 2020, in order to reach the objective of the "EU 5G Roadmap" of having a 5G network in at least one major city in each EU country by 2020".

Regarding emergency calls, if there is a major emergency or disaster, affected citizens must be alerted by SMS or mobile apps. Member states will have 42 months to put the system in place after the directive comes into effect.

In order to reach the necessary level of investment in infrastructure and 5G networks to achieve connectivity needs, the new legislation offers improved predictability for investment and promotes risk and cost-sharing among telecom operators.

Following Council´s final approval, Member States will have two years to adopt national legislation to implement the directive. Price caps will come into effect on 15 May 2019.

Further information, European Parliament

Adopted text (13.11.2018)

Procedure file - Telecom code

Procedure file - BEREC


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