Free roaming will continue to exist in the EU for the next ten years

In the EU, the new improved roaming scheme enters into force. It extends “Roam-like-at-home” until 2032 – the scheme that allows travelers in the EU and EEA to make calls, text messages and surf abroad at no extra cost. The new rules will also bring significant benefits to EU businesses and citizens, who will enjoy a better roaming experience with the same quality of mobile services abroad as at home. The new rules also improve access to emergency communications across the EU and guarantee clear information on services that may be subject to additional costs.

Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice President of a Europe fit for the digital age, said: “With our roaming rules, we have all benefited from roaming-like-at-home. We can call, text and surf the web at no extra cost “when we are in the EU. This is a very tangible advantage for our European single market. By extending these rules, interoperator prices will remain competitive and consumers will be able to enjoy free roaming services for the next ten years.”

Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton said: “Do you remember when we had to turn off mobile data when we traveled in Europe – to avoid getting a huge roaming bill? Well, that’s history. And that’s it. what we want for the next 10 years will remain the same for years. More speed, more transparency: We continue to improve the lives of European citizens. “

Better mobile internet speed while traveling

From now on, consumers have the right to the same quality of mobile internet abroad as at home. Operators offering mobile services should ensure that consumers have access to 4G networks, or the more advanced 5G networks, if they are available at the destination the consumer visits. Consumers should be able to find information on the availability of networks in their mobile service contracts and on operators’ websites.

Avoid unexpected hidden costs

When consumers travel by air or on boats, mobile phones can automatically connect to the network on board, provided by satellites. There may be very high surcharges for using mobile connection services on non-terrestrial networks. The new roaming rules require operators to protect their consumers and notify them if their phones switch to a non-terrestrial network. In addition, operators must automatically suspend mobile services if mobile services over non-terrestrial networks reach a price of € 50 or another predetermined limit. Operators can also offer additional services, such as the ability to deselect roaming on planes and boats.

Learn more for better choices

Consumers must be able to make informed decisions about the use of services that may incur additional costs for them. When traveling abroad, it can be more expensive to call customer service, insurance and airline helpdesk or send text messages to attend contests or events than at home. Operators must ensure that consumers are informed about the types of telephone numbers that may incur additional charges when consumers call or use them from abroad. Operators must inform consumers through automatic text messages sent when crossing the border into another EU country, as well as in service contracts.

112 – Emergency communication during the journey

The new roaming rules ensure that citizens are aware of the common EU emergency number 112, which they can use to access emergency services across the EU. By June 2023, operators must send automated messages to their customers traveling abroad to inform them of available alternative ways to reach emergency services, such as via real-time text or apps. Those citizens who cannot call can use these alternative means.

Lower interoperator prices, better conditions for consumers

The new roaming regulation sets lower wholesale tariffs, the cost for operators to use networks abroad to provide services to their customers abroad. Wholesale ceilings are set at levels that allow operators to bear and cover the cost of providing roaming services to consumers at domestic prices:

For data services, the new regulation sets the following wholesale ceilings: € 2 / GB in 2022, € 1.8 / GB in 2023, € 1.55 / GB in 2024, € 1.3 / GB in 2025, € 1.1 / GB in 2026 and 1 € / GB from 2027.
For speech: 0.022 € / min. in 2022-2024 and 0.019 € / min. from 2025.
For SMS: 0.004 € / sms in 2022-2024 and 0.003 € / sms from 2025.

Lower wholesale tariffs benefit consumers as they ensure that all operators can offer competitive roaming plans in accordance with the “roaming like at home” principle, the EU said.

Background

Thanks to the EU Roaming Regulation since 2017, citizens enjoy free roaming to make calls, text messages and use mobile data abroad in the EU at no extra cost. A review of the rules showed that there was room for improvement. In the latest Eurobarometer from February 2021, 33% of respondents traveling abroad had a lower mobile internet speed than usual at home, and 28% had a lower network standard abroad (ie a 3G network instead of 4G). Further study A study from the Joint Research Center showed that 25% of customers experienced at least one poorer service quality when roaming than at home, even when the network conditions could have provided better quality. As the previous Roaming Regulation was due to expire on 30 June 2020 and to allow all mobile phone and Internet users to stay connected at no extra cost when traveling through Member States, the Commission had proposed a new enhanced Roaming Regulation in February 2021. It enters into force the 1st of July.

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