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EU votes to end mobile roaming charges, protect net neutrality

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Foo Yun Chee

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The European Union flag flies in front of the European Parliament in Brussels.

The European Union flag flies in front of the European Parliament in Brussels.

The European Parliament has voted to end mobile roaming fees by 2016 and bar providers from prioritising some internet traffic over others, moves that will cheer Europe's consumers and frustrate industry seeking new forms of revenue.

In a session in Brussels, legislators backed telecom reform legislation that will phase out roaming fees across the 28-country European Union by December 2015, bolster consumer protections on mobile and broadband contracts and seek to make the sale of mobile licences more uniform across Europe.

The aim of the reform is to foster a so-called "single market" for telecom services across the region, while spurring big operators such as France's Orange and Britain's Vodafone to invest more in networks.

"This vote is the EU delivering for citizens," said Neelie Kroes, the European commissioner for digital affairs.

"This is what the EU is all about – getting rid of barriers to make life easier and less expensive. We should know what we are buying, we should 500

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