Bills on mobile phone calls for travellers in Europe will come down from 1st July this year after a vote in the European Parliament in Brussels on Thursday.
In time for the summer holidays, Labour Euro-MPs voted to regulate not simply the cost of making calls from abroad and receiving calls from home, but also to bring down the charges for "data roaming" when holidaymakers want to download information from the internet.
From July the cost of making a call will drop from around 30p/min to 24p/min and the cost of sending a text will fall to 7p. Further changes will follow with the cost of making a call set to fall to 12 p/min - or less - by 2014. Data roaming costs will also be capped for the first time with 1MB costing 58p.
"The mobile phone companies have been ripping off Sussex holidaymakers for too long," said Peter Skinner, MEP for Sussex, who speaks for Labour MEPs on the issue.
"The barrier charging different rates across national boundaries is totally artificial - phone signals don’t know they’ve crossed a border! This week's vote will bring prices down considerably and Brits travelling abroad this summer will really feel the difference in their pocket. It will be cheaper to make a call, send a text or check Facebook or the football scores online.
“If roaming prices have not come all the way down to domestic levels by 2016, then the European Commission will be obliged to propose additional legislation to ensure that roaming charges are identical to domestic prices.
"We wanted to get rid of roaming charges altogether but unfortunately the right wing MEPs supported the phone companies and we had to agree on a temporary measure.
"When you're travelling, you often want to download data, to find out about places to visit, for example. So there will be a dramatic reduction in prices particularly for internet use.
"We will also have 'bill-shock protection', set at 50 euros, so that customers are warned by text if they are approaching their limit while travelling," he said.