July 23, 2017

European Union scraps mobile roaming charges

16 June 2017, 05:32 | Lucia Cruz

EU roaming charges are ending – here's everything you need to know

Roaming charges for EU holiday-goers to become a thing of the past

Under the "roam at home" agreement, customers with a mobile phone contract in these countries will be charged the same for texts, calls and data when overseas within the European Union as they are in their home country.

"The end of roaming charges is a true European success story", said European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker in a statement.

Phone users will now pay exactly the same price to make a call or send a text from anywhere in the European Union, and the same allowances you enjoy at home can now be used overseas without penalty.

The European Commission has called the end of roaming charges a big success for the EU.

In terms of what constitutes "reasonable" or "fair" use; the maximum data in gigabytes (GB) you can use in another European Union member is equal to your pre-VAT monthly contract tariff fee divided by €7.7, then multiplied by two.

The other members of the European Economic Area Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein would join the group "shortly after June 15". This means that even if your calls, data or texts allowance is described as "unlimited" you may still be limited in some way.

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It means that British consumers will be charged the same as if they were to "roam at home".

A survey of over 1,000 Irish consumers has found that the majority of holidaymakers don't know enough about the EU's rules to make informed decisions when travelling this summer. This means that, if they notice that someone is using their SIM card mostly overseas and not in the country where the SIM card was bought, they may warn the user that they are about to start charging special charges for roaming because they suspect misuse. But 70% claim that they will use more data than previously after the new rules come into effect.

Even though the United Kingdom is still part of the European Union, consumers should remember that these regulations only apply to roaming-not to calling European Union countries from the United Kingdom and prices vary significantly. If you continue to spend more time overseas than you do at home and your roaming consumption continues to exceed your domestic usage your operator may start applying a surcharge. On the contrary Telecom operators have been warning the authorities that the tariffs in the home circle would eventually go up since they would have to cover up the loss from the roaming revenues.

Which? also noted that Vodafone is the only network to include Turkey in the roaming cull, with other networks charging between 69p and £1.65 a minute to call home. By far the most generous network in this respect is Three, which doesn't charge roaming fees in a wide range of countries outside of Europe, including the US, Australia and Hong Kong.

"On behalf of the European Parliament, I can confirm that we will be vigilant and ensure that our citizens genuinely reap the benefits of the end of roaming fees immediately".

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