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The threat of roaming charges and coming home to face a large bill means that many of us are reluctant to use our mobile phones abroad. But you won’t have to worry about this for much longer.

The European Union (EU) announced in October last year that it will completely abolish roaming charges from June 2017. In the meantime, the EU is putting a cap on the amount mobile operators can charge – this came into force on 30 April 2016.

To get you up to speed, we’re going to take you through the cap on charges and what this could mean for you.

How much will it cost?

From June, the caps on data roaming charges are as follows:

• €0.05 (4p) extra per minute for outgoing calls, down from €0.19 (16.5p),

• €0.01 (1p) extra per minute for ingoing calls, down from €0.05 (4p),

• €0.02 (2p) extra per text, down from €0.05 (4p), and

• €0.05 (4p) extra for each megabyte of data, down from €0.20 (17.4p).

These data roaming caps are for countries in the EU, so popular destinations like Turkey and Morocco are not included. It’s important to remember as well that not all European countries are members of the EU.

However, the caps do apply to some non-EU members including Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, but not Switzerland.

What does this means for you?

If you’re heading to a country in the EU this summer, this cap on charges could help you reduce your mobile phone bill. Before the cap, data published by uSwitch found that one in six mobile phone users had to pay more than £100 on top of their normal bill after coming home from a trip.

But the tide seems to be changing and some mobile phone operators have already cut roaming charges for customers. Tesco Mobile recently announced that it will not charge customers for roaming in any of 31 European countries from 23 May until 3 September, as part of its ‘Home from Home’ offer.

Three Mobile offers something similar with its ‘Feel at Home’ deal, while Vodafone is offering free European roaming for customers on new ‘Red’ or ‘Red value’ packages. To find out more about this offer, check out our blog. Whether or not you opt for one of these offers will depend on how much you’re planning on using your mobile phone while abroad.

But remember, you don’t have to worry about data roaming charges for much longer as these charges will be abolished next year. Charges outside of the EU will still apply.

Some critics of this ban suggest that mobile phone companies could increase their prices to cope with the loss of revenue. But it’s too soon to tell whether this will actually happen.

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