EU telecommunications ministers have backed rules slashing the cost of cross-border mobile phone calls by up to 70%.

The EU ministers' support was widely expected after the European Parliament voted in favour of the price caps last month.

However, consumers are unlikely to benefit before September.

The new rules will limit the cost of making cross-border calls within the 27 countries to 49c a minute, while receiving a call could cost no more than 24c.

The ceiling for roaming services would then drop again in the second year.

According to data from September provided by the European Parliament, the average retail roaming rate at the moment is €1.15 per minute.

Noel Dempsey, the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources, welcomed today's decision.

Meanwhile, Sinn Féin's Mary Lou McDonald has called for a single all-Ireland mobile phone tariff to be introduced.