Feature Article

May 16, 2012

Telefonica Europe, European Union Work to Keep Mobile Data Charges Down and "End the Rip-Offs"

For EUR2 a day, Spanish-owned Telefonica Europe offers subscribers data access that will prevent users from receiving excessively high bills for their mobile devices. Telefonica will allow users 25 MB of data usage a day, which equates to 500 e-mails – without attachments – and up to 250 visits to what they call “essential Websites.” 

When users approach their data limit, they are notified by Telefonica.

The price per megabyte offered by Telefonica falls below the caps set by the European Union last week. They declared that prices for mobile data would be capped at EUR0.70 starting this summer, fall to EUR0.45 in 2013, and then finally level out at EUR0.20 in July of 2014.

Before this legislature, there was no cap on what European mobile service providers could charge users for data. In 2009, the average data cost was EUR4 per megabyte; mobile devices can easily use up a megabyte by browsing a few text-only Web pages and the price only goes up when using audio or video. 

“By putting price caps on data we have created a roaming market for the smartphone generation,” said Neelie Kroes, VP of the European Commission, commenting on mobile data limits. “More than that, we have ended the rip-offs familiar to anyone who has used a mobile phone while travelling abroad. I am pleased that year after year, the European Union is putting money back in the pockets of citizens.”

The European Commission has estimated that the new caps on data surcharges will save a family of four up to EUR200 per year, though Telefonica’s new plan could save users even more. Through the efforts of EU lawmakers and Telefonica, European travelers will now be able to rest assured they will not experience the all-too-familiar “bill shock” to which they surely have grown accustomed.

Edited by Braden Becker

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