Spanish telecom Telefónica announced plans earlier this week to cut mobile data roaming fees across its European operations by as much as 40%.

Starting in February, Telefónica's mobile units O2 and Movistar will implement the changes in the Czech Republic, Germany, Ireland, Spain and the UK. This will bring the cost of sending a text message home from anywhere in the European Union down to about 48 cents.

"Today's announcement honors the promise we made to customers that, having reduced the cost of calling whilst abroad, we would bring down the last barrier in roaming charges - data," said Telefonica O2 Europe Chairman and CEO Matthew Key, in a statement.

According to Telecoms Analyst Emeka Obiodu at Global Insight, these proposed price cuts could result in more voluntary price reductions and could help avoid the bickering that would ensue if the European Union Commission attempts to impose data cost caps similar to the roaming caps imposed last year.

As for helping Telefonica's business, Obiodu said, "Although cheaper text messages are hardly going to persuade the big spenders to switch suppliers, [we] expect it to sway the prepaid market and those medium spenders about to renew their contracts."