EU considers scrapping roaming charges

EU leader Austria will study whether the extra "roaming" cost added to mobile phone calls made abroad could be cut or even scrapped, a Reuters report said.

Quoting a spokesman for the presidency, the report said the proposal, which was expected to face fierce industry opposition, was given to EU leaders by the Irish government at a two-day summit.

The report said this lent support to the European Commission's expected announcement next week of an outline regulation to bring down roaming charges, seen as a money-spinner for operators but a bane for business travelers and tourists.

Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern made the proposal to cut or eliminate the charges on using a mobile phone outside a consumer's home country, an Irish spokesman was quoted by the report as saying.

The report said EU Information Society and Media Commissioner Viviane Reding would be presenting an update on roaming charges and outlining a new regulation to reduce roaming charges.