The report was adopted with 646 votes in favour, 22 against and 9 abstentions. MEPs and the Council Presidency agreed with the Commission that a roamed text message (SMS) should cost a maximum of 0.11 euros (excluding VAT) from 1 July 2009, compared to current average tariff of 0.28 euros.

For mobile internet services (web-browsing, e-mail), the charges between operators will be capped at 1 euro (excluding VAT) calculated on a megabyte basis, versus current average tariff of 1.68 euros.

To prevent "bill shocks", roaming customers would be able to opt free of charge for a maximum financial limit from 1 March 2010, stipulates the compromise text.

From 1 July 2009 operators would have to charge their customers by the second but can apply an initial minimum charging period of 30 seconds.

The new regulations will be effective as of July 1, after the report drafted by Romanian Adina-Ioana Valean is passed by European Parliament.

Cutting the charges for roaming phone calls

The compromise does not fix roaming prices at rates set by the EU, but sets ceilings beneath which mobile operators could compete by offering lower prices.

The text stipulates that home operators may charge their customers for roaming phone call:

- from 1 July 2009: a maximum of 0.43 euros per minute (excluding VAT) for outgoing and a maximum of 0.19 euros per minute (excluding VAT) for incoming roaming calls;

- from 1 July 2010: a maximum of 0.39 euros per minute (excluding VAT) for outgoing and a maximum of 0.15 euros per minute (excluding VAT) for incoming roaming calls;

- from 1 July 2011: a maximum of 0.35 euros per minute (excluding VAT) for outgoing and a maximum of 0.11 euros per minute (excluding VAT) for incoming roaming calls.

Cheaper data roaming services

MEPs and the Council Presidency agreed with the Commission that a roamed text message (SMS) should cost a maximum of 0.11 euros (excluding VAT) from 1 July 2009.

Other data roaming services (such as sending emails and pictures or web-browsing from mobile phones or laptops) will be regulated at wholesale level – i.e. there will be a price cap for the rates the host operator charges a roaming customer’s home operator, calculated on a kilobyte basis:

- from 1 July 2009: a maximum of 1.00 euros per megabyte (excluding VAT);

- from 1 July 2010: a maximum of 0.80 euros per megabyte (excluding VAT);

- from 1 July 2011: a maximum of 0.50 euros per megabyte (excluding VAT).

Review in 2011 - Expiry by mid-2012

On MEPs' initiative the Commission will have to review by mid-2011 at the latest, among other points, “the extent to which consumers have benefited through real reductions in the price of roaming services” and the competitive situation of smaller, independent or newly started operators. In addition, the text requires the Commission to “assess methods other than price regulation" for creating a competitive internal market for roaming.