Last year, Europeans hailed a landmark decision by the EU that finally announced roaming charges would be going away. But as the surcharges are scheduled to be abolished starting next year, a new, public draft of the law adds some important caveats. Turns out, no roaming fees doesn’t really mean no roaming fees.
According to the EU, roaming charges, scheduled to be abolished in June 2017, will still be in effect for some users, if they stay away too long from their home network. To be more precise, mobile phone users will be able to take advantage of the lack of roaming charges 30 days at a time. If they’re in a different country for longer, they’ll start being charged extra.
On top of that there’s a limit to the total number of days you can skip roaming charges, and that’s 90 days in a year. That means roaming charges will still be a thing, for 275 days per year. Not exactly the clear-cut consumer victory the EU was touting previously.
But of course, things get even more complicated when you take into account workers who live in one country but commute to another, for their job. Apparently these customers will be able to skip roaming charges entirely, regardless of the 30 or 90-day rules mentioned above, provided they connect to their home network at least once a day.
The silver lining here is that even if you end up paying roaming charges, they’ll be far cheaper than before. The EU has imposed price limits on these, with prices capped at 4 cents per minute, 1 cent per SMS and 85 cents per MB of data.
The draft law will be debated by BEREC, the EU telecom regulator, as well as member countries and the public, and are scheduled to be adopted in December of this year.