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EU mobile roaming charges were abolished today

by Mark Tyson on 15 June 2017, 11:01

Tags: European Commission

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qadipx

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Today the EU law to abolish mobile phone roaming charges has come into effect. What it means is that people travelling within the EU can call, text, and use data just like they do in their home country, without the worry of extra fees. The following explanatory statement was made by the EU "The European Union is about bringing people together and making their lives easier. The end of roaming charges is a true European success story. From now on, citizens who travel within the EU will be able to call, text and connect on their mobile devices at the same price as they pay at home. Eliminating roaming charges is one of the greatest and most tangible successes of the EU."

If you have a data allowance of 2GB a month, for example, you will be able to continue to be connected and use email, browsers, social media, chat apps etc within the confines of this allowance - just like you could in the UK. Calls and texts in your allowance also travel with you throughout the EU. However, the included minutes and texts will with most plans still only be free to use only to mobiles and premises in your home country. We won't be able to just call Italian mobile numbers within our minutes allowances, for example. The EU has produced a FAQ, available in many languages, which you can view of download from here.

HEXUS has been sent communications by various UK mobile phone companies and MVNOs regarding the news. I have been a Three customer for a number of years as it already offered excellent EU and worldwide roaming options but the company has now added some further 'Feel at Home' destinations to strengthen its appeal - such as Brazil.

In another communication from ID Mobile I read that this UK MVNO will offer 50 destinations (including of course EU countries) in its 'Roam like Home' list. ID supports bill capping and data rollover which are also appealing bonuses of its 4G subscription plans.

The UK's biggest mobile operator is EE and its plans have already changed to include EU roaming with some of its 'Max' plans including Australia, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand and USA. It allows users to set data usage alerts and caps too.

Warnings from mobile operators of higher prices at home due to this opening up of free EU roaming ability seem to have been hollow. However, the BBC notes, there is a Brexit question mark over this win for consumers. As a European Regulation, rather than directive, the roaming charge changes have not been incorporated into UK law, it says.



HEXUS Forums :: 16 Comments

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Apparently, some of the companies have gone with a ‘fair use’ policy though, restricting how much of your data etc is eligible… Was on the One Show, so it must be true…
the prices already went up in begging of year, which I would bet is connected to this

three canceled my contract and told to pay 5£ more, so i had to downgrade in order to not raise my monthly cost
I don't know how the situation is in the UK, but here in Denmark the prices have gone up at least 10-20% on most subscription plans. Alternatively, some companies gave/give you the option to switch to plans with absolutely no roaming capability.

And there's no “free” roaming as well. At least not when it comes to data. You can only roam for a given amount of GB depending on your plan.

Considering I don't really go anywhere abroad I'm a bit peeved of having to pay extra so other people can “roam” abroad.
Well, having read the article and the EU document it's still not entirely clear to me what “Roam like at home” means.

Situation 1).

I live in, and have a contract in, say, the UK. If I ring my next-door neighbour I pay standard charges, which very likely is free on contract, on maybe £0.0Xp per min on PAYG.

Now I go to Italy (for example) and ring that SAME neighbour. The call is international, and at home, inrernational calks are expensive.

So, does “Roam like at Home” mean whatever it would cost me at home is what it costs me abroad, which is minimal or free.

Situation 2).

Live in UK, as before, and am now in Italy as before. If I call my mate in Bologna from the railway station in Bologna, is that “minimal or free” because it's “local”, or expensive because the “as at home” bit means it'd be international if I called it from home.




Also, my suspicion is that sooner or later, phone companies will jack up charges, or reduce allowances, somewhere else to compensate for the lost revenue. This may get deferred a bit until they see what the effect is, such as netting off of intra-company costs and whether this simplification for users drives usage and hence revenue up. But sooner or later, if this costs them, we'll pay it some other way.



Note: In the interests of transparency and openness, I personally don't give a hoot. I don't use my mobile much at home, and very, very rarely use it, or even power it up, abroad. Last time I used it abroad has to be 10 years ago. Even then, it's calls only.
Saracen
Well, having read the article and the EU document it's still not entirely clear to me what “Roam like at home” means. …

I don't know if it's based on more detailed advice from the EU or it's just their own interpretation of the legislation, but the way Three are implementing it is that if you're in an EU country outside the UK, all calls & texts back to the UK or to another EU country are taken from your allowance; i.e. the EU is treated as a single “country” for determining whether calls are local or not.

Interestingly, the way they've worded it on their website implies that this doesn't apply if you're in the UK; so if you're abroad the whole of the EU is treated as local, whereas if you're in the UK the rest of the EU is treated as international…