Thanks to an agreement reached by the European Parliament last week (I voted in favour of course), the cost of using your mobile phone while on holiday in another EU country will be further reduced from July 2012.
The European Parliament already reduced the cost of making and receiving calls while "roaming" (using your phone abroad) several years ago, but the original agreements did not focus on data roaming (when you use your mobile phone to surf the internet or access your e-mails).
Very high charges for data roaming had resulted in holidaymakers receiving shockingly high phone bills (hundreds of pounds) when all they had done was use their smartphone to check a few e-mails and post some status updates on Facebook.
The agreement introduces a new price limit for data roaming and requires networks to inform customers when they are reaching €50 (about £40) of data use. As of July 2012, the maximum charges within the EU (different charges will apply to using your phone outside the EU) will be as follows:
Data (internet) use - 71p per megabyte
Making calls abroad - 30p per minute
Receiving calls abroad - 6p per minute
Sending text messages abroad - 7p per SMS
NB: costs based on current exchange rate.
Costs will be reduced further in 2013 and 2014.
This is a great example of EU action; no single country alone could have taken on big multinational mobile phone companies, but 27 countries acting together were able to force companies to give consumers a better deal.
European Commission press release
Guardian newspaper article
ALDE (European Parliament Liberal Group) press release