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Learning English - Words in the News
14 July, 2006 - Published 14:50 GMT
EU cuts overseas mobile costs
Mobile phone user
Calls made abroad could become cheaper

The European Commission has proposed legislation to reduce the cost of using a mobile phone in other EU countries by as much as seventy percent. The Commission plans to force firms to reduce roaming charges, which are levied on people when they use their mobile phones abroad. Theo Leggett reports.

Listen to the story

Taking a mobile phone abroad can be an expensive business. A British traveller making a local call in Spain, for example, can easily end up paying double the cost of an equivalent call made back home. But according to the EU information commissioner, Viviane Reding, such high charges simply can't be justified:

"There is no link between what the consumer pays and what the costs to the operators are. The consumer pays five times more than the cost, that's not normal, we have to change that."

The Commission has proposed setting strict limits on the amount mobile phone companies can charge one another for handling roamed calls. After six months, it'll set limits for the actual prices charged to consumers as well.

But people within the industry are unhappy. They say that charges for making calls abroad are coming down already, and a cap on roaming prices will simply make other services more expensive.

Theo Legget, BBC News, Brussels

Listen to the words

an equivalent
the same kind of

simply can't be justified
are not at all reasonable


person who uses the phone

mobile phone firms

roamed calls
calls made in a different country

people within the industry
those who work with mobile phone companies

a cap
a limit

roaming prices
costs of phone calls made abroad

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