Roam Like at Home – New EU Roaming Regulations Explained
When you use your mobile phone outside of your operator’s country, you get extra charges for being in the roaming zone. A huge bill may catch you by surprise upon your return home. There are no boarders between the European countries, yet there are extra charges for phone services. Well, not anymore.
Since 15th of June there will be no extra roaming fees by any operator in EU zone. European Commission has been implementing many sets of regulations over the roaming tariffs since 2007. Until this year, the regulations were all in forms of capped maximum prices for roaming calls, SMS, etc.
Operators are not obliged to have roaming function on all the tariffs, yet if they offer it, the fees for roaming cannot be higher than set by the EC that, from June 15, are naught.
|Roaming Tariff Caps in EU in Selected Periods||01 July 2014||30 April 2016||15 June 2017|
|Outgoing voice calls (per minute)||€ 0.19||domestic price + up to €0.05||Roam like at home – no extra fee, same as domestic price.|
|Incoming voice calls (per minute)||€ 0.05||€ 0.01|
|Outgoing texts (per SMS message)||€ 0.06||domestic price + up to €0.02|
|Online (data download, per MB*)||€ 0.20||domestic price + up to €0.05|
Prices exclude VAT. Source: European Commission.
Simply, the price you pay in terms of your contract or a fixed fee for calling in your home country will be the same if you go travelling abroad. Operators may propose alternative charges for roaming beyond the maximum prices (which are zero); although the customer will have to explicitly agree to them.
However, if it is true, can all the companies agree to do alike and set alternative, “mandatory” fees?
No, that would be a formation of a cartel that would undermine the structure of oligopoly, turning it into a figurative monopoly, which is illegal.
Can I already start looking for the cheapest operator in the whole Europe?
The European Commission initiative is developed to counter such behavior. Aside from the whole point of having no roaming charges, the Single Digital Market of the EU is designed to be a fair use concept. Roaming is a temporary state, which is activated when a permanent citizen enters a foreign country. If you will be using a roaming number in your home country for an extended period, you may be denied from using the services of the operator.
Title picture: Pixabay.com