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Agreement reached to extend free mobile roaming in Europe

13 December 2021, 23:43 CET
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Agreement reached to extend free mobile roaming in Europe

Mobile roaming - Photo © Tanusha - Fotolia

(BRUSSELS) - The 'Roam like at Home' mobile roaming scheme will be renewed for another ten years, after plans were informally agreed Thursday between Euro-MPs and the EU's Slovenian Presidency.

Under the agreement, a follow-up to the 2017 elimination of roaming surcharges, consumers will continue to be able to use their mobile phones when travelling abroad in the EU with no additional fees on top of what they already pay at home.

In addition, they would be entitled to the same quality and speed of mobile connection abroad as at home. Roaming providers will be obliged to offer the same roaming quality as those offered domestically, if the same conditions are available on the network in the visiting country. To this aim, MEPs secured a provision to prohibit practices that reduce the quality of roaming services (e.g. by switching the connection from 4G to 3G).

Travellers will have access to emergency services without any additional charge - whether by call or text message, including the transmission of caller location information. Operators would also have to provide information about the European emergency number 112, it was agreed. People with disabilities will be able to access emergency services without additional charges.

During negotiations, MEPs pushed to end surcharges for intra-EU calls (e.g. when calling from Belgium to Italy), as consumers are still confused about the difference between roaming calls and intra-EU calls. Intra-EU calls are currently capped at 19 cents per minute. The agreement provides for the Commission to look into the situation and assess whether further reduction of the caps are necessary.

Wholesale roaming charges – the price operators charge each other when their customers use other networks when roaming the EU – will be capped at €2 per Gigabyte (Gb) from 2022 progressively down to €1 in 2027. If consumers exceed their contract limits when roaming, any additional charges can not be higher than the wholesale roaming caps.

The informal agreement will now have to be formally endorsed by the Euroepan Parliament and Council before it comes into force.

Further information, European Parliament

Procedure file

Legislative train schedule: Roaming regulation review

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