Government: It's really cheap to use your phone in Europe now... so please don't vote Brexit!

 
William Turvill
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Ibiza And Formentera International Film Festival 2007
This chap will be pleased (Source: Getty)

The cost of using your mobile phone in Europe has been slashed today.

And, not one to miss a trick, the government has used it as an opportunity to discourage people from voting for a Brexit in June's EU referendum.

Digital economy minister Ed Vaizey said the change means "from today you are quite literally better off inside the European Union".

And he told the BBC: "I don't know what would happen if we leave the EU, and that's the problem... They might stay, or they might not stay."

Vote Leave, the campaign for a Brexit, responded by saying there is "no evidence" the price would go up again.

Read more: Nigel Farage: The Remain campaign is trying to scare you

A statement from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, whose minister John Whittingdale is backing a Brexit, said the changes came about as a result of “strong UK leadership inside the European Union, which delivered a better deal for consumers”.

All roaming charges across the EU will be abolished from June 2017.

Vaizey said: “If you are making a phone call in Paris or Barcelona, from today you are quite literally better off inside the European Union – because strong UK leadership secured a better deal for consumers.

“And from next year, roaming charges will be abolished entirely. The truth is: if you want the certainty of lower phone charges across Europe, along with economic security more broadly, you are better off in a reformed EU.”

Read more: Seven reasons Brexiteers are wrong to think EU exit talks would be easy

The changes will see current price capping for roaming within the EU replaced with a maximum surcharge for roaming of €0.05 (around 4p) per minute for outgoing calls and €0.014 per minute for incoming. Texts cost €0.02 and data will be priced at €0.05 per megabyte.

The surcharge will be removed altogether from June 2017 and mobile phone services will cost the same in Europe as in the UK. The DCMS estimated this will save UK consumers up to 38p per minute on calls and possibly up to £1.4bn a year in roaming charges.

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