Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

Vodafone cuts roaming charges as EU rules bite

Vodafone has slashed the cost of using the internet on smartphones in Europe, further reducing the chance of a "bill shock".

The mobile phone giant said it was rolling out cheaper data roaming tariffs for British customers who wanted to use email or watch videos on their handsets while overseas. In the summer, the European Commission introduced rules to prevent phone users running up huge bills after a German traveller was charged €46,000 (£38,000) for downloading a film to his phone. The EC's Digital Agenda Commissioner, Neelie Kroes, said: "There will be no more bill shocks for tourists or business travellers surfing the internet."

Vittorio Colao, the chief executive of Vodafone, said: "This is the year of the smartphone and we want our 35 million European data users to feel free to use their devices in Europe in the same way as they do at home."

Jeremy Green, an analyst at Ovum, said Vodafone had taken a step towards cutting data charges but added: "There is a sense in which Vodafone is making a virtue of an impending necessity since regulatory pressures are reducing, pushing data roaming charges downwards."