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Data roaming a distant memory from 2014 inside EU
Thursday 12 September 2013 09:24:07 by Andrew Ferguson

Roaming charges have less than a year of life left in them if proposed changes to the rules are fully implemented.

"Incoming call charges while travelling in the EU would be banned from 1 July 2014. Companies would have the choice to either 1) offer phone plans that apply everywhere in the European Union ("roam like at home"), the price of which will be driven by domestic competition, or 2) allow their customers to “decouple”, that is: opt for a separate roaming provider who offers cheaper rates (without having to buy a new SIM card). This builds on the 2012 Roaming Regulation which subjects operators to wholesale price cuts of 67% for data in July 2014.

News on changes to roaming charges in EU

For those who take their phone on holiday this will be very welcome and stories of bill shock are a common staple for consumer columns in newspaper in August and September. The question mark that is looming over this good news is what the side effects may be, apparently roaming is worth some £6 billion to the operators across Europe and it is unlikely they will simply give up this revenue. We having a feeling that we may see call plans increase in price to compensate.

The removal of roaming charges has gained the largest press coverage but there is also to be an end to international call premiums between member states, where a fixed call between countries in the EU cannot be charged at a higher cost than a long distance domestic call, this applies to both mobile and fixed line telephone. A price cap will also be placed in mobile calls between countries of 19 cents (plus VAT) per call.

The rise of the anytime and international calls add-ons have slashed peoples telephone bills compared to a decade ago, but we suspect they are also part of the reason that line rental prices have increased.

There is much more proposed by the EU as part of their push for a single telecoms market, but we are attempting to split it out into the various component parts to avoid massively long articles.


Posted by Kushan over 4 years ago
Anyone got any idea how this will affect bundled minutes/texts/etc.?
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 4 years ago
My understanding is that your bundle should just work as if at home, but until the providers offer stuff and find the various loopholes it will be a bit of a guessing game.

Posted by herdwick over 4 years ago
Let's hope the baby doesn't go out with the bathwater. Roaming charges incentivised operators to make a fairly complex thing work well.
Posted by westli1 over 4 years ago
Three has just announced it is abolishing roaming charges in countries where it has a sister network. Your inclusive minutes & texts will be used as if at home. I expect other carriers to follow, though it remains to be seen how they will approach this where they don't have a sister network.
Posted by Michael_Chare over 4 years ago
I would like to see the EU stop providers forbidding tethering on tariffs with a fixed data allowance. If you pay for xGB of data, why can't you use it anyway you want?

On the one hand I am looking forward to being able to use my phone when abroad, (at a reasonable cost) on the other had I fear what this will do to the monthly contract charge.
Posted by westli1 over 4 years ago
Michael - who stops you tethering? It's only Apple/ O2 as far as I'm aware. Apple are as much to blame.

You can tether on any android device.
Posted by Michael_Chare over 4 years ago
@westli1 Tethering is against the T&C of many mobile contracts and PAYG arrangements. If you tether with a contract you risk that you will be charged at some horrendous out of allowance charge rate. Using PAYG is safer in that respect.
Posted by gedw over 4 years ago
I must admit I don't tether often but I've never incurred any additional charges — I'm on a Sim only deal with VM.
Posted by michaels_perry over 4 years ago
I, for one, will be pleased they are to outlaw charges for incoming calls. I have no control over who calls me so why should I be made to pay to receive spam calls?
When I go abroad, I take the mobile phone with me but only switch on either when I want to make a call or each day at a time agreed with my family at home. Assuming I can find a signal that is!
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