Mobile phone charges for travellers within the EU officially end from today under a new EU Law.
Additional fees levied by mobile providers for cross-border calls (‘roaming’ charges) had been significantly higher – often catching out unsuspecting holidaymakers.
The end of costly EU roaming charges is widely credited as one of the EU’s most popular achievements, ending fees that the commission felt represented one additional cost barrier to cross-border communication. The agreement has not been without difficulties however, and the new regulation has taken 10 years to come into force.
However, as always with the EU, this welcome news for travellers comes with some specific caveats:
- Users will still be charged high fees for data use (at around £8.30/GB, falling incrementally in future years), whilst standard calls and texts will remain at typical network pricing.
- EU roaming phones will be monitored for time spent on ‘home’ networks and ‘roaming’ networks to discourage phone users taking out a contract in a cheaper country and using it permanently in a more expensive country. If found not to be truly ‘roaming’, extra charges may still apply.
- Call fees will still be higher for international calls made from the customer’s home country.
- Countries in ‘Europe’ but not in the European Economic Area (EEA) will not be included in the agreement (including Switzerland, Serbia and the Channel Islands among others) nor will calls from cross-channel ferries and other satellite-linked areas.
- It’s as yet unclear what will happen after Brexit.
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