Sunday

5th Feb 2023

EU countries agree data roaming charges

  • (Photo: David van der Mark)

Member states agreed on Wednesday (26 October) on the future cost of the use of data for mobile operators when their customers travel in the EU, or so-called roaming.

From 15 June next year, operators will charge each other €1 cent the use of one megabyte by users when they are not in their country.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

The charge will progressively go down to €0.5 cent per megabyte (c/MB) in 2021. On average, a megabyte will cost €0.85 c/MB. A review will take place in the meantime to set the long-term prices.

The agreement between EU ambassadors will have to be endorsed by ministers in December and then by the European Parliament as part of work to end roaming costs in June 2017.

The cost for operators of the end of roaming for users is crucial to make the flagship commission initiative work.


With smartphones overtaking traditional mobile phones, the cost of data use has become the main issue in the discussion.



The proposal, put forward by the Slovak presidency of the EU, made possible to square up the European Commission's suggestion - €0.85 c/MB - with positions from northern countries, who wanted a lower price, and form southern countries, who wanted a higher price.

The charge for calls, which is less controversial, will be dealt with at a technical level, while the charge for SMS-es was a "complete non-issue", a source said. The commission proposed a €4 c/min charge on calls and €1 cent per SMS.

Southern countries, which face peaks of users and data consumption in the summer tourist season, had concerns about their network capacities and the cost to maintain them.



As a compromise, ambassadors also agreed on a so-called ring-fenced sustainability mechanism that will allow countries to apply a surchage, limited to €0.85 c/MB, when they see big pressure on their system.

The discussion on wholesale charges comes in parallel to the discussion concerning the price for consumers.

In September, the commission presented and then withdrew a plan to limit free roaming to 90 days a year, and proposed instead to allow operators to apply surcharges on data, calls and SMS-es to customers who employ SIM cards from a country where they do not use it.

The proposal is due to be adopted in December.

EU redoubles attack on roaming charges

After an embarrassing U-turn last week, the EU commission has proposed to abolish roaming charges by June next year. Only "abusive" clients to pay.

Hawkish ECB rate-rise 'puts energy transition at risk'

The European Central Bank raised interest rates by another 0.5 percent to a 14-year high, and expects to hike rates by another half percent in March. But what does that mean for the green transition?

Polish backpedal on windfarms put EU funds at risk

Draft legislation in Poland aimed at relaxing some of Europe's strictest laws surrounding onshore wind-turbines has been derailed by a surprise last minute amendment, which could put Poland back on a collision course with the EU.

Opinion

More money, more problems in EU answer to US green subsidies

Industrial energy-intense sectors, outside Germany and France, will not move to the US. They will go bust, as they cannot compete in a fragmented single market. So to save industry in two member states, we will kill the rest?

Latest News

  1. Greece faces possible court over 'prison-like' EU-funded migration centres
  2. How the centre-right can take on hard-right and win big in 2024
  3. Top EU officials show Ukraine solidarity on risky trip
  4. MEPs launch anonymous drop-box for shady lobbying secrets
  5. Hawkish ECB rate-rise 'puts energy transition at risk'
  6. MEPs push for greater powers for workers' councils
  7. How Pavel won big as new Czech president — and why it matters
  8. French official to take on Islamophobia in EU

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Party of the European LeftJOB ALERT - Seeking a Communications Manager (FT) for our Brussels office!
  2. European Parliamentary Forum for Sexual & Reproductive Rights (EPF)Launch of the EPF Contraception Policy Atlas Europe 2023. 8th February. Register now.
  3. Europan Patent OfficeHydrogen patents for a clean energy future: A global trend analysis of innovation along hydrogen value chains
  4. Forum EuropeConnecting the World from the Skies calls for global cooperation in NTN rollout
  5. EFBWWCouncil issues disappointing position ignoring the threats posed by asbestos
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersLarge Nordic youth delegation at COP15 biodiversity summit in Montreal

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us