An EU regulation that will see mobile phone owners having their bill capped at €50 (£41) when using data abroad, came into force last week.

The maximum charge, which doesn’t include VAT, has been introduced in a bid to stop mobile phone owners receiving "bill shocks" or charges that run into thousands of pounds because they’ve been surfing the web from their handset when on holiday.

Under EU rules, mobile networks will be required to warn mobile phone owners when they are approaching the €50 cap and once the cap is reached they will be unable to browse the web any more.

However, the cap only applies in Europe, so mobile phone owners could still face huge bills if they surf the web from their handset outside the EU.

"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. The EU is also cutting the cost of roaming calls for travellers. I am determined to make the EU's telecoms markets more competitive," said Neelie Kroes, EU Commission vice president for the Digital Agenda.

The regulation also saw the cost of making calls in Europe reduced to a maximum of €0.39 (32p) a minute, while the charge for receiving calls was slashed to a maximum of €0.15 (12p) a minute.  Furthermore, checking your voicemail from anywhere in Europe is also now free.