EU committee backs roaming fee cap

The European Union, which now has more phones than people, has backed plans to cut the cost of mobile phone "roaming" fees through compulsory price limits that could cut the costs of such calls by two-thirds in some cases. The parliament is eager to get the limits imposed through a final vote in time for summer vacation. The plans also call on carriers to send roaming users texts that explain the roaming rates with a "warning" icon that reminds the users about the increased costs.

EU Parliament member Paul Rubig, who spearheaded the initiative, said that "We are not fixing prices, we are setting a maximum level which may not be exceeded." And likened the current roaming billing situation to an absurd dining experience: "You don't order a meal and only find out a few weeks later what it cost when the bill comes in," Rubig quipped.

The EU has been toying with the idea of capping roaming fees for years now. Recent maneuvers included a proposal by German EU member to cap fees at 49 euro cents a minute. The EU's commissioner for information, society and media, Vivian Reding also wrote a letter to U.K. regulatory body Ofcom arguing that its new tariff rules for interconnect fees between carriers were too high.

For more on the EU's plans to cap roaming fees:
- see this article from The Guardian