In June this year, the European Union took a major step in the world of mobile telecommunications by completely abolishing all roaming charges. Today, cell phone users no longer have to be worried about incurring massive charges travelling within Europe making it much easier to travel and stay connected.
Here Round Solutions reviews EU roaming regulations and looks at the countries that are most affected by the change.
Are there any hidden costs or regulations that you should be aware of?
How can you most take advantage of this change?
How “Roam Like At Home” works
The EU has dubbed this ban on roaming “Roam Like At Home”, and the regulation itself is quite simple. Phone calls, SMS, and data usage within any EU country is covered within this new bundle of regulations. Customers will be charged the same amount for phone calls, SMS, and data used while in the EU at the same rate they would pay back home. This good news ensures that accidental data usage doesn’t result in a huge phone bill.
For example, if you have unlimited SMS and calls in your home EU country, you’ll be able to make calls and send messages anywhere within the EU at no extra cost. But wait. There are regulations for excessive data use however. A phone operator that provides very cheap or unlimited data may impose a “Fair Use” limit on roaming data use though this limit is usually quite high. And the operator will have to inform a customer about the limit, and alert them when it is reached. After the limit, data roaming will cost around 7.7€/GB + VAT – around 6-25x less than the cost of roaming data before this regulatory change.
What Countries Are Covered By This New Regulation?
Every EU country is covered by this new “Roam Like At Home” regulation. All 28 EU roaming countries are protected by this bill, which is part of the EU “Digital Single Market” plan.
From one end of the union to the other, west to east and every country in-between, customers can benefit from this new legislation. There is one interesting exception as the UK has triggered Article 50 after Brexit, so this country’s status as an EU member regarding this is in question. At the time of this article being written, the UK is still covered by this new law – but it’s unclear what exactly the ramifications of Brexit on the Digital Single Market Plan will be.
Are There Any Hidden Costs Or Regulations To Be Aware Of?
There are a few other rules and costs that you should be aware of, while exploring this new opportunity to make more calls. First, if you stay in another country within the EU for more than a few months, your home operator may contact you and ask you to pay more for your service as you continue using more data abroad. Operators may also be entitled to apply small surcharges to your phone plan if you remain in a country other than your home country for more than 4 months.
In addition, some telecom operators are allowed by the National Telecom Regulator to apply small roaming surcharges after the passage of this bill. This is in order to avoid negative effects on telecom operators who have very low domestic prices and may otherwise lose a large amount of money due to the new law. However these surcharges are still much lower than the previous surcharges levied before 15th June, 2017.
EU “Roam Like At Home” Regulations Are Great For Consumers
The passage of this bill is an important step forward for telecom companies in the EU. No longer do consumers have to worry about swapping SIM cards, turning off mobile data, and taking other precautions to avoid roaming charges.