Roaming in Europe will now be free, say EU

Roaming in Europe will now be free, say EU

From 15 June 2017, using your mobile in Europe will no longer incur a roaming charge.

Using your phone abroad for calls, texts or internet currently means paying an extra fee to foreign networks, which appears on your next phone bill.

But the European Parliament has voted to enforce a rule that says using your phone while in the EU should cost you the same as it does at home.

Roaming charges can be deceptively expensive due to the different costs of running mobile networks in different countries.

A SIM-only contract with 1GB of data allowance can cost as little as £5 a month in the UK, while the same contract could cost as much as £50 a month in Hungary.

Roaming charges are designed to reflect these differences.

Typical roaming charges are currently around 4p a minute to make calls, 1p a minute to receive calls, 1.6p to send a text and 4p per MB of data.

New EU legislation will put an end to roaming charges altogether.

Prices are expected to fall from €6 per GB of data from 2018 to €2.5 by 2022.

However, there are some limits to this.

  • Your SIM card and mobile operator must be from the country you live in
  • OR

  • From a country with which you have ‘stable links’
  • Examples of ‘stable links’ include cross-border commuters, students on the Erasmus+ programme, apprentices or volunteers
  • You have to be a permanent resident of an EU member state.
  • Non-EU residents travelling within the EU will still have to pay the full price for roaming charges.
  • These limits are to prevent abuse of foreign mobile networks, say the EU.

    The UK is set to leave the EU in March 2019 when Brexit is finally completed, so there is still time to enjoy the lack of roaming charges when travelling abroad.


Samuel Newman is a consumer journalist and blogger based in Sheffield.
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