EU reaffirms plans to abolish “rip-off” mobile roaming charges

The cost of using our devices when travelling internationally can prove prohibitive, with most mobile carriers imposing severe surcharges for the privilege of calling, texting and consuming data while abroad. These roaming charges vary wildly, depending on your network, which country it’s from, and which nation you’re visiting. Some carriers offer bundles or inclusive minutes to use abroad on certain price plans; others charge absurd, eye-watering prices per megabyte of data used.

The European Union has had enough of all this inconsistency, and what it calls the “rip-off” regime that carriers have enjoyed for too long Tomorrow, the European Commission will push forward new legislation and regulatory frameworks that will force carriers to drastically reduce roaming charges – to just one-third of their current level – and encourage them to abolish international premiums altogether across the EU.

The vice-president of the European Commission, Neelie Kros, told The Telegraph: “We need business models based not on yesterday’s rip-offs, but on tomorrow’s digital opportunities; with revenues not from outrageous margins on roaming, but from new innovative services that people will want to pay for.”

The Commission’s intention is to introduce regulation that will oversee a significantly less expensive array of mobile roaming charges; but the hope is that the burden of red tape required to manage those greatly reduced charges will prove to be all the incentive needed for carriers to abandon the charges altogether.

Given that roaming charges currently account for around ten percent of carrier revenues, the operators are unlikely to simply wave that money goodbye. We'll have to wait and see what batshit crazy charges the carriers will slap on to your bill to make up for it creative and exciting innovations the carriers will introduce to help generate revenues in new ways.

Source: The Telegraph

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19 Comments

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Chargers are already seriously limited. Making calls from a European country to your home country (in Europe) is never more expensive than €0.24/minute, a text never costs over €0.08.

Funny thing is that, if you have a plan without free minutes/texts, it's usually cheaper to call from another country to Belgium (using a Belgium SIM) than it is to call from within Belgium to Belgium, since the maximum roaming tariffs don't apply to national communications.

true. found out the same. 3 years ago it was even worse. it was more than double the price for messages within a country than it was to send a message whilst in a roaming area. it is all a big rip off

Whilst this is excellent news, ideally what we want to get to is a time when our included service minutes / texts / data can be used freely across Europe without penalty.

That way if you have 1000 mins a month on your service plan / tariff, you can use them (for example) in your home market of the UK as you like, and then if you pop over to Spain or Germany etc.. on holiday or whatever, continue using them and you don't pay a penny extra until you run out of allocation.

what we want to get is that whilest you travel in the EU you don't have to think about anything because you expect to have the same conditions as in your "home country". long way to go

-adrian- said,
what we want to get is that whilest you travel in the EU you don't have to think about anything because you expect to have the same conditions as in your "home country". long way to go

This is exactly my meaning in my post - and yes we do have an awful long way to go.

Effectively your service plan is a cross Europe usage of minutes, texts and data allowance. So calling UK from France is the same as calling UK from UK or France from France etc...

A minute or a text unit or a megabyte is the same regardless of country of origin or destination.

And things like this is why I'm glad the UK is in the EU. Our government would never do anything like this, so we have to rely on the EU to push it through. It's been the same story for other issues outside of the tech world, like banning neonicotinoid pesticides that were linked to alarming numbers of deaths of bees, and caps on bankers' bonuses (our government actually rallied against both of those issues).

Well the problem with the UK is that they are clearly not commiting like they should. But well.. all nations in the EU clearly don't commit fully and the system is moving far to slowly. How should they grow together when everything is still handled nation wide for each country.
Why do people in spain not have the same health insurance and working laws like the people in Germany? as long as this is all separated, it will never work

-adrian- said,
Well the problem with the UK is that they are clearly not commiting like they should. But well.. all nations in the EU clearly don't commit fully and the system is moving far to slowly. How should they grow together when everything is still handled nation wide for each country.
Why do people in spain not have the same health insurance and working laws like the people in Germany? as long as this is all separated, it will never work

You hit the nail right on the head there. Sadly, the populous here have been brainwashed by the right-wing tabloids into believing the EU is just a massive waste of money that brings us no benefits. Doesn't help that UKIP's been gaining ground this year in the opinion polls (and local elections) either; it's caused the big three parties to shift more to the right to try and win back the voters they lost by "promising" crackdowns on immigration and a referendum on the country's EU membership (the Conservatives are "promising" an in/out referendum by the end of 2017 if they win the next election in 2015).

we can do this without the eu, just get countries to sign a treaty, the small number of good things the eu does can be done with treating instead of removing our sovereignty.

torrentthief said,
we can do this without the eu, just get countries to sign a treaty, the small number of good things the eu does can be done with treating instead of removing our sovereignty.

Like I mentioned earlier though, our government refuses to listen to the people and do the right thing, so we have to rely on the EU to do the right thing.

They already done things like that, like limiting the max amount of money phone companies can charge per minute while roaming in other EU countries. Which lowered the costs from euro's a minute to <50cents a minute already. Great that they keep up with this. But taking to much revenue away from carriers and the carriers might get into troubles. In several EU countries the competition is very strong and profit margins are minimal.

The carriers will be fine. They may have to up their prices a bit but they'll all be equally affected by this. It doesn't make sense that it costs so much more to make a phone call in the EU than in another EU country. Hell, some of us who live near a border occasionally end up connecting to a nearby mast in another country and get screwed over that way.

The americans solved it by doubling the prices. Paying for incoming phonecalls, txt messages and even calls where the one you rang didn't even pick up. Would not like to see similar.

There's several providers active within many EU countries and those with roaming through EU contracts.

And solving it by raising other prices isn't doing anyone any favors either.

Shadowzz said,
The americans solved it by doubling the prices. Paying for incoming phonecalls, txt messages and even calls where the one you rang didn't even pick up. Would not like to see similar.

No major European carrier would be stupid enough to charge users for incoming calls or texts.