Roaming is when you use your mobile phone or tablet while occasionally travelling outside the country where you live or have stable links to i.e. you work or study there. As long as you spend more time at home than abroad, or you use your sim card more at home than abroad, you benefit from roam like at home. You will therefore not be charged more than what you normally pay at home for your calls, text and data use in the EU. The current Roam like at Home regime was established in 2017 and with the new Regulation it is prolonged and improved.
If you already have RLAH or are a new customer, you do not need to set anything up. Your operator automatically continues to apply domestic charges when you roam abroad
Yes. When you make a phone call, send an SMS messages, or use data from another EU country these will be charged or deducted from the volumes of your national tariff plan exactly as if you were at home (in the country where you live, work or study). You do not have to pay anything extra. Whether you use your mobile phone while periodically abroad in the EU or in the country where you live you will be Roaming Like at Home. These Roam-like-at-home rules have now been prolonged until 2032.
Roam Like at Home will be the default roaming tariff on all plans that include roaming. If you want to buy a new tariff plan that includes roaming, your operator will present that tariff plan to you with Roam Like at Home by default. If you already have Roam Like at Home on you will keep it.
If at home you have unlimited calls and SMS, you will get unlimited calls and SMS when roaming in the EU. If at home you have unlimited mobile data or very cheap mobile data, your operator may apply a safeguard (fair use) limit on data use while roaming. If this is the case, the operator will have to inform you in advance about such a limit and must alert you in case you reach it. That safeguard limit will be high enough to cover most, if not all, of your roaming needs. Beyond this threshold, you can continue data roaming, subject to a small charge, which is capped at €2/GB as of 01 July 2022 and will progressively decrease to €1 in 2027.
You can Roam Like at Home whenever you are travelling in another EU country other than the country where you actually live (your effective home). If you move to and establish a durable residence in another EU country, you may not be able to benefit from Roam Like at Home offers from an operator in the country you came from. You will however, be able to Roam Like at Home with a mobile subscription of your new country of residence when you travel abroad in the EU.
The Roam like at home Regime is available in ALL 27 EU countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden.
The Roam like at Home Regime is also available in the countries of the European Economic Area: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway.
Countries outside the EU/EEA are not covered by Roam Like At Home, but many operators choose to extend these offers to third countries as well.
Since the United Kingdom has left the European Union, the Roam like at Home regime does not apply to travel to the United Kingdom. Whilst some operators have chosen to extend roam like at home to the United Kingdom, this is not an obligation. You are advised to check with your respective operator the relevant roaming charges when travelling to the United Kingdom.
You should check with your operator the roaming plan you have subscribed to and any applicable restrictions. If you have subscribed to a contract and chosen the default Roam Like at Home option, you can contest any extra charges with your operator, who should have a complaints procedure in place. If the operator persists, you should notify the relevant body in your country, usually your national telecoms regulator, who can advise you further. You may be charged extra for calls to special value added service numbers.
New Roaming Regulation from 1 July 2022
Just as it has been since June 2017, the new Roaming Regulation ensures that we can continue to enjoy calls, SMS and mobile data without additional charges as we travel through the EU.
Apart from setting new maximum wholesale charges that operators pay each other for roaming services, there are also new rules that add more benefits for consumers: so you can use the latest innovative services also while travelling and to better protect you from hidden charges. These new benefits include having the same quality and mobile speed abroad as you do at home (when technically feasible), having more information to prevent hidden extra charges, i.e. when calling value-added service numbers from abroad or if your phone connects to a non-terrestrial network when you travel by boat or plane or through cut-off mechanisms when certain limits are reached. The new rules also make sure that you can reach emergency services easily and efficiently from your smartphone, and that you are informed of alternative means of reaching 112, such as via SMS, apps or real time text, when you are travelling abroad and on public warning applications, where relevant.
Quality of Service
Roam like at home means that you should be able to use mobile service in the same way as at home. This includes the quality as well, like speed or access to 4G if you normally have 4G at home. In some cases it is not possible to offer the same quality because the network might not be as good as the one you normally use at home, or the topography of the country you visit might be different with for example mountains or a lot of islands. There are different factors that can affect the mobile service but your operator should do its best to offer the same quality as at home when this is technically possible.
Your operator should inform you clearly about the quality of the roaming service. Your contract should include information about how the roaming service can differ from the service that you use at home and why the service is sometimes not the same as at home. The contract should also include information on how to file a complaint when the quality of the service is not as expected.
Your operator should also publish information, for example on their webpage, about quality of service. That information should be more detailed than the contract. It should explain why a roaming service could be different than at home, particularly, the deviations from the advertised or estimated maximum upload and download speeds that are offered domestically, and how these differences can impact the roaming service. The information could also include an explanation on how any volume limitations, speed, available network generations and technologies and other quality of service parameters can in practice have an impact on the data roaming service, and in particular on the use of content, applications and services when roaming.
When the same network generation, for example 4G, is available in the country you are visiting, then you should normally have access to it. Your operator should ensure that you have access to the same network and quality as at home. In some cases, this will not be possible because the same network or technology may not be available in the country that you are visiting. Network availability varies across the EU, the latest mobile networks may not be deployed everywhere at the same time and the same mobile network speed may not always be available. This can be the case with 5G networks.
In addition, your operator should inform you about the mobile service quality that you can expect while roaming. You should be able to find this information stated in your contract and on the operator’s website.
Notification for consumers
Whenever you cross the border, your operator should send you an automatic message free of charge with your basic personalized pricing information on the roaming charges, including VAT, that apply to making and receiving calls, sending SMS and using regulated data roaming services. The information should also include any fair use policy that your operator applies, for example if the operator applies a limit to the data volume that you can consume when roaming. It should also include information about any surcharges that can apply after you have consumed that data volume limit. The message should include information about certain service that are not free, like calling a hot line or customer services.
You can inform your operator that you do not wish to receive this information.
In addition to pricing information, your operator must always inform you that calls to the single European emergency number 112 are free of charge and how you can access emergency services by other means in the country that you are visiting. The automatic message should include a link to a webpage where you can see which other emergency communications are available in the country you are in, for example emergency SMS, emergency applications and similar. You will always receive this information every time you enter another EU country.
Roaming providers shall ensure that a notification is sent to you when the data roaming services have reached 80% of the agreed financial or volume limit.
Roaming providers are also to provide notifications when you consume more than €100 in a monthly billing period. The notification shall indicate the procedure you should follow if you wish to continue using roaming services.
Customers may opt out and in of this message and limits by notifying their operators.
Value added services
Calls to value-added services specific numbers can include phoning to insurance companies, airlines, customer service helpdesks, etc. They also include sending an SMS for games and entertainment, like casting your vote for a TV show competition, or entering a game. Calling or texting these numbers from home may include some costs or it may be free of charge, depending on the service. When you are abroad, phoning or texting to value-added service numbers usually includes additional charges that you may not expect. A number that you can call free of charge from home may not be free abroad. In the same way, if you only have to pay a small fee when calling a number from home, it may be more expensive when you call from abroad.
The Roaming rules aim to increase your awareness that value-added service numbers may be subject to extra charges. You should be able to find information on value-added service phone numbers in your contract, on a dedicated web–page, as well as through the SMS you receive when crossing the border to another EU country.
For the calls that are free of charge at home but might be charged while roaming, the operator needs to include information on the surcharge for free phone numbers while roaming on a dedicated web page, that will also include information on numbering-ranges for value added services.
EU roaming rules apply only to terrestrial mobile networks. As long as you are directly connected to a terrestrial mobile network (e.g. on rivers, lakes or along the coast) you can still roam like at home. Usually when you are on a ship on open water or during a flight, you risk connecting to a non-terrestrial network. Services that are provided through other types of non-terrestrial radio networks such as via satellite systems on board of ships or airplanes, are not subject to the binding price caps of the of the Roam Like at Home regime. These services are usually expensive.
When you are travelling by boat or plane, your phone may automatically connect to a non-terrestrial, satellite-based network. EU roaming rules apply only to terrestrial mobile networks. To protect you from hidden charges, you should receive an SMS to alert you that your phone has connected to such a network and inform you about the prices. In case you continue using your phone, or apps using mobile data continue running on your phone, and you reach € 50 of additional charges, or another predefined limit, the mobile services will stop automatically, unless otherwise specified by yourself. The new rules oblige operators to take all reasonable steps to protect their customers from additional charges. These can include the possibility to opt out from roaming on planes and boats, network operation measures to prioritise terrestrial networks to the largest extent possible. Operators should inform their roaming customers about the possibility of manually and instantly opting out of roaming on their handset device, either through the settings or by activating flight mode.
When entering in the visited member state you will receive a welcome SMS from your roaming provider indicating that 112 may be called free of charge in case of emergency. You will also receive a link to a webpage that contains information on other means of access that are deployed in the visited member state, for example and emergency application, SMS or real time text. If you are not able to use a voice call to ‘112’ you may use these means of access to emergency services.
Most Member States deployed Cell Broadcast systems or Location based SMS systems that make possible sending the public warnings to roaming end-users, without the need of any action from the consumers’ side. Some Member States send public warnings through mobile applications. If you travel to one of these Member States, in the welcome SMS you will receive a link to a webpage where it is explained how to download the mobile application.
The replies included in this document do not represent and are without prejudice to the official Commission position and only try to present the roaming rules in a way accessible for consumers. The Commission does not interpret EU law in a binding manner. It is for the national courts to ensure that the Regulation is correctly implemented and for the European Court of Justice to interpret the rules.
As you travel across the EU, you can use your phone to call, text and use data just like you do at home. The minutes of calls, SMS and data that you use abroad in the EU are charged the same as at home.