Sci-tech

European Union roaming charges scrapped from today

European Union roaming charges scrapped from today

From today, you'll be able to use your phone anywhere in Europe for the same price it costs you at home - including any data costs.

Under the "roam at home" agreement, customers with a mobile phone contract in these countries will be charged the same for texts, calls and data when overseas within the European Union as they are in their home country.

New rules mean an end to the high roaming fees that some operators have been charging their customers when they were out of their home country.

In a joint statement yesterday, the European Commission, parliament and Council, described the changes as "a concrete, positive result for European citizens".

For the moment however, calls in France will be much cheaper; so why not celebrate with that long phone call to the bank you've been putting off?

Yes - as long as you both have British mobile phones, calls and messages between you while on holiday in Europe are treated the same way they would be if you were still in the UK.

The EU has now abolished these charges saying that customers must now be charged the same for using their mobile as they would in their home country, according to their phone contract.

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Members of the European Economic Area Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein would join the group "shortly after June 15". The complication of using a phone overseas stems from the fact that the shape and properties of a mobile network depend on the physical and social geography of the country it serves.

There are limits, with a fair use policy to avoid abuse from so-called permanent roamers; and fees still possible (albeit capped) for very affordable plans. Users spending more time overseas than at home will be subject to roaming charges similar to those previously in place. That means from today, roaming charges are no more.

Brussels estimates the end of roaming fees will cost European telecom operators 1.2 billion euros ($1.3 billion).

For the past 10 years there's been gradual reductions in the cost of using a phone overseas. "Operators have had 2 years to prepare for the end of roaming charges, and we are confident that they will seize the opportunities the new rules bring to the benefit of their customers". You may also get charged extra if you are spending more time in an European Union country than the country where the SIM card was issued over a four month period.

"Either way, all signs point to worry-free global roaming becoming a new battleground amongst providers", he said.

Yes. It's a legal ruling so it applies everywhere in the European Union - regardless of what sort of mobile deal you have.


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