New EU rules for mobile phone roaming came into effect on Sunday, which means the cost of making a mobile phone call from continental Europe is now cheaper than ever.

From 1 July 2012, the following maximum prices apply to all mobile phone customers, unless they have opted for a special roaming package offered by a particular operator:

  • Mobile phone calls: making a call while roaming in Europe cannot cost more that 28p (inc VAT) and receiving a call cannot cost more than 8p (calls received while roaming always incur a cost to the receiver).
  • Text messages: sending an SMS cannot cost more than 9p and receiving an SMS is free.
  • Mobile data: data roaming cannot cost more than 68p per megabyte. Additionally, mobile operators must impose a monthly data roaming limit of €50 (around £40) and alert the customer when they reach 80% of this. Customers can choose to raise or lower this limit.

The prices are all converted from the fixed Euro pricing specified in the new regulations, so they will vary according to the exchange rate. They are also maximum prices, which means mobile operators may choose to set lower rates.

These maximum prices will also be reduced again in 2013 and 2014, and while voice and SMS charges will only be reduced slightly, data will eventually plummet to 19p per megabyte.

You can see the more details about these new roaming regulations at this EU Information Society web page.