The price of phone calls and sending texts from France to people in other EU member states is set to drop in spring 2019. But will Britons get to benefit?
The four French mobile operators will be required to drop their rates following a vote by the EU parliament to cap the prices of calls and sending text messages from people in one member state to those in another.
For Brits living in France, with the change set to come into effect in May, it’s unclear whether they will benefit from the price cut due to the fact that Britain is leaving the EU on March 29th.
If Theresa May’s much-criticized deal is ratified a transition period will come into affect on March 30th which means all EU rules and regulations, including on those covering mobile phones and roaming will continue to apply until December 2020.
After the transition period however or if Britain quits the EU without a deal the EU rules on mobile calls and texts won’t apply.
Britons in France who support remaining in the EU, as well as ‘Remainers’ in the UK, have highlighted the move as one of the many benefits the European Union that are often ignored by critics.
“First roaming charges, now cheaper phone calls. This is yet another benefit of our EU membership we risk losing if we leave,” Liberal Democrat MEP Catherine Bearder previously told the Independent newspaper.
“This new law means that calls home to loved ones whether you’re on holiday or on business will be cheaper just like roaming charges are. The British voters must have a final say on the Brexit deal with the option to stay in the EU with all its benefits,” she added.
According to the recent text voted by the European Parliament, operators will no longer be able to bill a call from France to an EU country for more than 22.8 cents per minute and for a text message, the price must not exceed 7.2 cents per unit.
This represents a significant drop in prices compared to those applied by most of France’s four operators, Free, Orange. Bouygues and SFR at the moment, according to French consumer group Que Choisir.
The move follows the decision to scrap roaming charges within the EU which happened in June 2017.