EU Citizens Get New Telecom Rights

By Ed Silverstein February 22, 2013

New laws have gone into effect regarding the EU telecom market – giving residents more rights as consumers.  Neelie Kroes, vice president of the European Commission, said the new rules relate to landlines, mobile phones and the Internet.

The new laws apply throughout the EU after they were approved by individual national governments.

For example, EU residents can change their phone provider in one day for fixed and mobile services. Even though providers change, consumers can still keep the same number.

“You can shop around and pick the best deal for you, and switch over without lots of inconvenience and interruption,” she told Europeans in a blog post.

In addition, there are now shorter minimum contracts in the EU. The European Commission, for instance, banned operators from binding customers into a contract that has a minimum duration of three years, The Next Web reported. The new contract duration is basically 24 months – at the most.

“Operators must also offer customers the possibility of a contract with a maximum duration of twelve months, if the customer so desires,” The Next Web adds.

Europeans also have the right to be told if there is a “breach” to personal data a phone company holds about a subscriber.

Also, she announced that there are new tools to promote competition in Europe. “Those deliver yet greater choice and better deals across the EU – including so that the ‘termination rate’ charges imposed when you call a mobile or fixed number better match the true cost,” Kroes said.

The European Commission approved the new rules two years ago.

Last year, the EU launched a new smartphone app for air and rail passengers' rights. It lets air and rail passengers stranded in the EU due to cancellations or delays to  instantly check their options for rebates and compensation, according to TechZone360.

Edited by Brooke Neuman

TechZone360 Contributor

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