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Roaming: connected anywhere in the EU at no extra charge

Europeans can call, message and use mobile data anywhere in the EU without extra costs thanks to the 'Roam like at home' policy.

Roaming: extending the benefits of Roam like at home
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When you travel in the EU, phone calls, SMS and going online with your mobile phone are all covered by your mobile subscription. The minutes of calls, SMS and megabytes of data that a person uses abroad in the EU are charged the same as at home. Since 2017, there is no more fear of returning home to find shocking mobile phone bills!

How Roaming works

The minutes, SMS and gigabytes of data that you consume abroad in the EU are charged or deducted from your mobile subscription plan exactly as if you were at home. For calls and SMS, if a person has an unlimited amount in their plan, they will get unlimited calls and SMS when roaming in the EU.

For data, if a person has unlimited mobile data or very cheap mobile data at home, their operator may apply a limit on data use, known as the safeguard or 'fair use' limit, while roaming. If this is the case, the operator will inform the customer in advance about such a limit and alert them when they reach this limit.

The EU rules ensure that the roaming data limit should cover most normal data uses. If a person reaches the limit, they can continue to use data while roaming for a very small fee: reduced to 3€/GB (+ VAT) in 2021 and to be further reduced to 2.5€/GB + VAT in 2022.

As long as a person travels periodically and spends more time in his home country than abroad over any 4-month period, they can fully benefit from Roam Like at Home. If a person gets charged extra, they should first contest those charges with their operator, who should have a complaints procedure in place. If the operator persists, the person should refer to the national telecoms regulator, who will settle the case.

If a person stays in another country within the EU longer than in their home country over a few months, the operator may contact them and ask them to pay more.

A very small and decreasing number of operators in the EU have been allowed by the national telecoms regulator to continue applying a small roaming surcharge, in order to avoid negative effects on very low domestic prices. Such surcharges are significantly lower than the ones applied before 15 June 2017.

The Roaming regulation

The current Roaming Regulation is in place until 30 June 2022. On 24 February 2021, the Commission proposed a new Roaming Regulation to extend the rules and introduce new ones to improve the Roam Like at Home experience, while ensuring that roaming without charges is sustainable for operators.

Latest news & publications

REPORT / STUDY |
Roaming Performance Study

In the context of the review of the EU Roaming Regulation, the Joint Research Centre (JRC) undertook a study (Smart 2018/0011) on roaming performance assessment by field measurements on mobile broadband involving 40 mobile networks in 13 EU countries.

VIDEO |
Roaming – Commission proposes new regulation to ensure eu travellers continue to benefit from free roaming

Thanks to the Roaming Regulation roaming charges ended on 15 June 2017 and Europeans travelling within the EU countries can Roam Like at Home and pay domestic prices for roaming calls, SMS and data. As the current Roaming Regulation is in place until 30 June 2022, the Commission has reviewed the regime to prolong it beyond that date and enhance benefits for EU citizens. The Commission is proposing a new Roaming Regulation aimed at extending the rules for 10 years and enhancing its benefits for the citizens.

PRESS RELEASE |
Commission proposes new Regulation to ensure EU travellers continue to benefit from free roaming

To ensure that citizens can continue to enjoy roaming without additional charges when travelling in the EU, the Commission has proposed a new Roaming Regulation. At a time when non-essential travel is discouraged, this is an important action in preparing a brighter future. The new regulation will prolong the current rules that are due to expire in 2022, for another 10 years.

POLICY AND LEGISLATION |
Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on roaming on public mobile communications networks within the Union

Regulation (EU) No 531/2012 expires on 30 June 2022, therefore the aim of this proposal is to extend it, while adjusting the maximum wholesale charges to ensure sustainability of the provision of retail roaming services at domestic prices, introducing new measures to increase transparency and ensuring a genuine ‘roam-like-at-home’ experience in terms of quality of service and access to emergency services while roaming.

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