Monday

17th Jun 2019

No more roaming charges in EU

  • Roaming charges in the EU have been scrapped (Photo: Jonas Smith)

People travelling to other EU member states will no longer have to pay extra fees when they use their mobile telephones.

After a decade-long battle with telecoms operators, the EU on Thursday (15 June) has officially scrapped roaming fees on calls, data and text messages, sent or received on mobiles.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

The move is seen by the EU institutions as a major victory for the EU and part of a broader effort to create a digital single market.

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

Big operators across the EU have agreed to comply with the new "roam like at home" rules, doing away with surprise prices and large bills. A call made with a Belgian SIM card in France, for instance, to someone in Germany will be charged the Belgian domestic rate.

But there are exceptions to the rule.

EU officials earlier this week told reporters that several dozen small virtual operators, out of thousands, had asked for derogations in order to maintain roaming charges.

"It is only virtual operators, who in general, have an extremely limited slice of the market," noted one official.

Those derogations are concentrated in Finland, Estonia, and Lithuania, where operators already offer cheap rates when compared to other EU states.

No requests for exemptions to the roaming-free rule were made in the big EU member states, such as Germany, France, and the UK.

Italian regulators are currently analysing exemption requests made by two small virtual operators.

The EU commission has also identified isolated cases where operators have increased their rates to offset roaming losses in Denmark, Latvia and Norway. But elsewhere, like in Greece, the price has actually decreased.

"We don't see an increase Europe-wide, but actually we see a trend towards a slight reduction," noted another EU official.

Operators have an option also to apply a so-called "fair use" policy that may impose caps on how much mobile data can be used while abroad.

The "roam like at home" principle only works if you spend more time at home than abroad.

But if operators detect, over a four month period, that you spend more time abroad than at home, they can impose a surcharge of up to a maximum of €7.7 per GB of data. In 2007, operators were charging up to €6 per MB.

Calls received in another EU state won't be charged.

The new rules apply to all 28 EU member states, along with Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway.

EU lawmakers pass contentious copyright law

The European Parliament backed a law on copyrighted content online. Defenders says it will safeguard right holders from being exploited by big tech firms. Critics say it spells the end of internet freedoms and curtails expression.

Exclusive

ESA pushback against new EU space agency plan

The European Space Agency, which is independent of the EU, has asked the European Commission not to rename an EU agency as the similar-sounding European Union Agency for the Space Programme.

EU agrees draft copyright reform, riling tech giants

After marathon talks, EU negotiators agree on provisional copyright reform, requiring companies to filter content to prevent unauthorized work on their platform. Online platforms and open-internet advocates warn it will hurt the free flow of information.

News in Brief

  1. EU plans to restructure eurozone bonds
  2. EU ups US imports in beef deal
  3. Unicef: UK among 'least family-friendly' in Europe
  4. Czech PM: No joint 'V4' candidate in commission race
  5. Johnson tops first round to replace May, three eliminated
  6. Bratislava will host new European Labour Authority
  7. Juncker cautions against further climate goals
  8. Study: Counterfeit medicine is a 'growing threat' in EU

EU agrees draft copyright reform, riling tech giants

After marathon talks, EU negotiators agree on provisional copyright reform, requiring companies to filter content to prevent unauthorized work on their platform. Online platforms and open-internet advocates warn it will hurt the free flow of information.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  3. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  5. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  6. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  7. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  8. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  9. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody

Latest News

  1. 'Russian sources' targeted EU elections with disinformation
  2. Top EU jobs summit dominates This WEEK
  3. EP parties planning 'coalition agenda' ahead of jobs summit
  4. MEP blasts Portugal over football whistleblower
  5. Catalonia MEPs are a judicial, not political, issue
  6. Meet the lawyer taking the EU migration policy to the ICC
  7. Europe's oil supplies 'at risk' after tanker attacks
  8. EU paths fork for Albania and North Macedonia

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us