No More Roaming Fees: EU Members Can “Roam-Like-at-Home”

No More Roaming Fees: EU Members Can “Roam-Like-at-Home”

Today marked the end of successful negotiations to enact laws abolishing data roaming charges for members of the EU. The European Parliament, Council, and Commission have come to an agreement that will see the end of data roaming fees by June 15th of this year. With consumers seeing no direct charges, the agreement focused on setting a standard rate for carriers to charge each other, otherwise referred to as regulating the “wholesale roaming market.” Under these regulations, the charges are as follows:

  • 3.2 cents per minute on voice calls (effective June 15, 2017)
  • 1 cent per SMS (effective June 15, 2017)
  • A step-down process that decreases data charges to €2.5 per GB by January 1, 2020 (as outlined below)
    • €7.7 per GB (effective June 15, 2017)
    • €6 per GB (effective January 1, 2018)
    • €4.5 per GB (effective January 1, 2019)
    • €3.5 per GB (effective January 1, 2020)
    • €3 per GB (effective January 1, 2021)
    • €2.5 per GB (effective January 1, 2022)

If a consumer exceeds their contracted limits while roaming, they will be charged no more than the wholesale prices detailed above. According to a press release from the European Commission, work on this resolution has been a decade in the making. Since then, roaming fees have decreased by more than 90%, the press release states.

Once formally approved by the European Parliament and Council, the last piece of Regulation (EU) 2015/2120 will have come to fruition. Within this regulation are stipulations enforcing net neutrality (already signed into law) as well as the outline for ending roaming fees. Though similar roaming deals have been made with U.S. carriers between Canada and Mexico (by way of market trends, rather than government regulation) the issue of net neutrality has been a more contentious and complex issue, leaving many in the U.S. uncertain of its future, even today.

With Britain now beginning negotiations to leave the EU, it’s unclear how this will affect British citizens in the coming years.

Source 1: Politico Source 2: European Commission

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