AFTER A DECADE of wrangling, roaming charges for mobile users are being abolished across the EU as of today.
From now onwards, the extra feed for sending texts or making phone calls while abroad in an EU country are scrapped. There will also be a heftier data allowance for users before additional charges kick in.
Today marks the culmination of a long-running effort by EU lawmakers to eliminate the charges across the European bloc.
Officials sought to get rid of the high bills and costs that travellers faced when using their mobile phones abroad.
“Eliminating roaming charges is one of the greatest and most tangible successes of the EU,” European leaders said in a joint statement.
“Over the last 10 years, our institutions have been working hard together to fix this market failure.
“We are proud that the EU has put an end to very high roaming prices and thankful to those who showed the determination to overcome the many challenges and pursue this goal.”
So what does this actually mean?
Basically, as of today, making phone calls and sending texts while in Europe will cost the same as it does when you’re at home.
So if you have free calls and texts to every network here, you will be able to use those while abroad at no additional cost. With data allowances it’s not quite as clear-cut, however.
Data restrictions were agreed between the European Commission and mobile networks based on the wholesale charges operators charge each other for network access.
Allowances can be restricted to as little as 3GB per month under the EU rules and customers can be charged up to €9.50 per gigabyte in fees beyond their allowance.
In cases where an operator is providing an ‘all-you-can-eat service’, the company can limit data volumes to twice what the customer would be able to buy with the value of their contract.
For example, someone who is on a €20 a month bill can be capped at 4.2GB of roaming data per month, even if that plan gives unlimited data at home.
However, if you’re on a two-year contract where you get your phone for free as part of it, the mobile operator can deduct the phone cost from the calculation. So if you’re paying €60 a month and have an iPhone 7, that could eat up half of your allocation.
And once customers go over their allowance, they’ll be hit with the roaming charges of around €9.50 per GB.
Each network operator has different ways in which they will be delivering the data allowance, so it is worth checking with your own before you travel.
Written by Cormac Fitzgerald and Cliodhna Russell and posted on TheJournal.ie