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Law cuts European text message costs

BRUSSELS, July 16 (UPI) -- European travelers should soon see the costs of text messaging home cut at least in half say authorities.

The European Commission announced plans Tuesday to force mobile operators to cut prices from a 29-cent average to 11-15 cents per text message, the EU Observer reported Wednesday.

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"EU citizens should be free to text across borders without being ripped off," said Information Society and Media Commissioner Viviane Reding. "Roaming charges have already drained the wallets of mobile customers too much, especially the 77 percent of young people who sent texts while using their mobile abroad."

Legislation is expected in the autumn with price cuts set to go into place in July 2009 once member states have examined the proposals. In February, Reding called on the mobile industry to lower their prices with only one operator in Austria responding to her request.

Mobile operator Vodafone warned that in response to any forced reduction in roaming prices they will recoup losses by raising the cost they charge for handsets, the EU Observer said.

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