EU set for free roaming by mobile users from June

Mobile users travelling to other countries in the EU will be able to call, text or surf the net without paying any extra charges from June 2017.

As from 15 June 2017, mobile phone users in the 28 European Union member countries will be able to call, text and download data in another EU country for the same price they pay at home.

Every existing or new contract that includes roaming services will change to “roam like at home” contract under the new EU rules.

“When Europeans go on holiday this summer, they can enjoy the freedom of being able to stay in touch and use the internet as if they were at home. The EU is making our lives easier in very practical ways,” Dr Emmanuel Mallia, the Maltese Minister for Competitiveness and Digital, Maritime and Services Economy, said after the Council of Europe adopted the legal act enabling free roaming in April.

Under the new rules, roaming costs will be eliminated for those travelling abroad for up to 90 days in one year, but not for a period longer than 30 days at a time.

The time limit is to ensure “fair use” of the system and prevent consumers from SIM shopping around the bloc to get cheaper deals, the European Commission says. “Roam like at home” is meant to make communicating while travelling easier. It is not intended to allow permanent roaming where a customer would take out a subscription in the cheapest possible country and use it to roam in his home country,” the Commission said.

Mobile operators will monitor user data if they suspect customers are defrauding them, and will be allowed to apply a roaming “surcharge” to recoup any lost revenue.

Sola Jolaoso

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