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Shaping Europe’s digital future

Roaming: connected anywhere in the EU at no extra charge

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.

Roaming: extending the benefits of Roam like at home
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‘Roam like at home’ is automatically activated whenever you travel and use your phone abroad in any of the 27 EU countries, as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. Since the United Kingdom has left the EU, the 'Roam like at Home' regime does not apply when you  travel to the UK, however, some operators have chosen to keep the benefits of ‘Roam like at home’. You should check with your operator before travelling to the UK.

An improved roaming experience

From 01 July 2022 – ‘Roam like at home’ is extended and the improved with additional benefits for a better roaming experience when travelling abroad in the EU: with even better connectivity, more information and a smoother travel experience.

Same quality at home & abroad

'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, like speed or access to 5G if you normally have 5G 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, your operator should do its best to offer the same quality as at home when this is technically possible. Your operator should inform you on how the roaming service can differ from the service you use at home. This information should be available in your contract and made publicly available, e.g. on your operator’s website.

When you travel, you can test the quality of your network with netBravo, a tool developed by the Commission. You can download the app for Apple or Android.

Reaching emergency services abroad

Quickly reaching emergency services is crucial to saving lives. By June 2023, you should automatically receive a message when you travel abroad to remind you about 112 and inform you about the available alternative means of reaching emergency services, such as through real time text or apps. If you are not able to use a voice call to ‘112’ you may use these alternative means of access to emergency services.

Connecting to non-terrestrial networks

Today we like to stay connected anytime and anywhere. When you travel by boat on open water or during a flight, your mobile phone may connect to a non-terrestrial network, e.g. a satellite network provided on board the aircraft or boat. These services are not covered by ‘Roam like at home’ and usually have high surcharges.

If your mobile phone connects to a non-terrestrial network, you should receive an automatic message to alert you, so you can avoid unexpected charges. 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. Operators may offer additional services, such as the possibility to opt out from roaming on planes and boats.

More information, better choices

Whenever you cross the border, your operator will send you an automatic message with your basic information about roaming, including any fair use data limits that the operator may apply, as well as information about certain services that are not free of charge, like calling customer services, or airline and insurance helplines. These value added services are usually subject to higher charges when phoning from abroad.

You should be able to make an informed decision about calling value-added services that may cost extra. Operators have to inform customers about the type of phone numbers that may be subject to additional charges when phoning them from abroad. You should find information on value-added service phone numbers in your contract. You can also find similar information in the SMS you receive when crossing the border to another EU country.

Preventing additional charges

In case you have unlimited or very low-cost data services, and your operator has applied a fair use limit, e.g. a data volume or financial limit, your operator should notify you before you reach the limit. The operator should also inform you when you have consumed €50 and then again when you have consumed €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 back in to this so-called cut-off limit mechanism by notifying their operators.

Fair use

When it comes to data, if you have unlimited GB or you pay less for a GB of data then the maximum wholesale cap (e.g. 2€/GB + VAT from 2022 progressively lowered down to reach €1 in 2027), your operator may apply a (fair use) limit on data. 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 80% of your said limit. That safeguard limit will be high enough to cover most, if not all, of your roaming needs. This ‘fair use’ data limit is in place so operators can continue providing roaming services without the need to increase domestic prices. If you reach the limit, you can still continue using data while roaming for a very small fee, which cannot be more than 2€/GB + VAT from 2022 and will progressively decrease to €1 in 2027.

The actual limit depends on the monthly amount you pay for your mobile contract, based on a regulated formula. If you want to check the operator’s calculation, here is how: the roaming data volume must be at least twice the volume obtained by dividing the price of your mobile bundle (excluding VAT) by the regulated maximum wholesale cap.

2 x (price of mobile bundle excluding VAT / regulated maximum wholesale cap per GB) = data limit (in GB) when roaming

In 2022, this cap is €2/GB. For your information, €2/GB is the maximum price that your operator must pay the foreign operator for 1 GB of data when you are abroad in the EU from July 2022.

If you do get charged extra, you should first contest those charges with your operator, who should have a complaints procedure in place. If the operator persists, you can refer to the responsible national telecoms agency for support.

'Roam like at home' is intended for periodic travelling. It means that you cannot use roaming services permanently. If you stay and use roaming services in another country within the EU longer than in your home country over a period of 4 months, the operator may contact you and may apply a surcharge.

 

Reports on Roaming

Roaming - latest Eurobarometer Report

Roaming - Eurobarometer Reports

Benchmark Data Reports on Roaming - BEREC

BEREC reports on transparency & comparability of retail roaming tariffs

 

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