By Daniel Hunter

The EU has delayed scrapping data roaming charges until at least 2018.

The UK had been in favour of ending the charges, which often result in huge bills for travellers. But experts have described the decision as a challenge European Parliament and bureaucrats at the European Commission.

The European Parliament and European Commission argued that charges were far too high and wanted them gone by the end of 2015. They said that around 500 million people in the EU would be financially better off if the charges were scrapped.

But at a meeting in Brussels on Wednesday, EU member states agreed to allow the charges for another three years, with a view to reviewing the matter in 2018.

Some members of were hugely critical of the decision. The Alliance of Liberals and Democrats said: "The only winners from it are national telecoms operators themselves. Member states should hang their heads in shame."

And European consumer groups described the decision as "outrageous", adding that "roaming is not justifiable in a single market".