Lower mobile phone roaming charges took effect across the European Union on Thursday, a move by the EU to drive down costs for consumers ahead of the summer holidays, when many travel abroad. The measures implemented by the European Commission, the executive arm of the 27-country bloc, will reduce the cost of making and receiving mobile phone calls, as well as reducing charges for uploading and downloading data. The move has aggravated mobile phone operators, several of whom took the European Commission to court over the initiative and lost, but has won praise from consumers after several high-profile cases of people receiving huge phone bills. In 2009, a German traveller who downloaded a TV programme while roaming in France received a bill exceeding 46,000 euros ($56,290). “There will be no more bill shocks for tourists or business travellers surfing the Internet with smart phones or laptops while in another EU country,” said Neelie Kroes, the European commissioner in charge of the EU's digital agenda. To make calls in other EU member states, consumers can expect to pay a maximum of 39 cents per minute, down from 43 cents per minute.

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