From July 1, 2014, Europeans traveling within the EU will no longer pay expensive roaming rates
Europeans will be able to use voice, texts and data within the EU for the same prices as their domestic service, following a ruling by the European Commission. The commission, which last year imposed significant caps on roaming rates charged to EU customers, will push the legislation through before the May 2014 European elections. The new rules will come into force on July 1, 2014.
More detailed proposals will be drawn up in the next six weeks, however the EC has already made the decision to effectively end roaming charges within Europe for EU mobile subscribers. Aside from the obvious benefits for travelers, The Telegraph reports that the move is intended to encourage a consolidation of Europe's 100+ network operators in favor of fewer, stronger carriers while increasing competition. With roaming fees out of the way, it'd be easier for existing networks to compete and collaborate across borders -- a process which might lead to more mergers between continental operators.
It's worth underscoring, however, that the EC decision won't affect roaming outside of Europe, nor will it have any impact on roaming fees imposed within Europe by non-EU carriers. So if you're traveling from the U.S. to Europe, for instance, your rates won't get any cheaper. Similarly, European subscribers can expect to get gouged should they roam outside of the EU.