By Julia Fioretti
| BRUSSELS

BRUSSELS The European Union clinched a preliminary deal early on Wednesday to cap wholesale charges telecom operators pay each other when their customers use their phones abroad, paving the way for the abolition of roaming fees in June, the European Commission’s digital chief said on Twitter.

The caps on wholesale roaming charges were the last piece of the puzzle needed for the smooth implementation of a law abolishing retail roaming charges as of June 15, 2017, crowning a decade of efforts by Brussels to allow citizens to use their phones abroad without paying extra.

Wholesale charges for data will be capped at 7.7 euros per gigabyte from June 2017, going down to 2.5 euros per gigabyte in 2022, EU lawmaker Miapetra Kumpula-Natri said on Twitter.

“This was the last piece of the puzzle. As of 15 June, Europeans will be able to travel in the EU without roaming charges….Today we deliver on our promise,” said Andrus Ansip, European Commission vice president.

Wednesday’s deal will still need to be confirmed by the full European Parliament and member states in the Council of the EU.

The battle against roaming charges took on an added significance after Britain voted to quit the bloc last year in a surge of anti-EU sentiment and Brussels has sought to show it works for ordinary citizens.

(Reporting by Julia Fioretti; Editing by Andrew Hay and Lisa Shumaker)



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