Skip to main content
Shaping Europe’s digital future

The history of Roaming

As of 15 June 2017, people don't pay extra for roaming while travelling to other EU countries. This includes calls, texts and mobile data.

    Goodbye roaming fees in the EU since 15 June 2017


15 June - Roam Like at Home

Roam like at Home became a reality for Europeans travelling within the EU/EEA on 15 June 2017. People pay domestic prices for roaming while travelling in other EU countries. This means that, while on travel in the EU/EEA, data, calls and SMS to any EU/EEA number are included in domestic bundles with no extra charge. National telecoms regulators are responsible for enforcing the new roaming rules.

January - Agreement on new wholesale roaming rules

The European Parliament and the Council concluded a political agreement on the new rules to be applied by operators on the wholesale roaming market, based on the proposal made by the Commission in June 2016. The agreement is about the maximum price that operators have to pay each other for using their respective networks when their customers travel abroad in the EU. This has been the last condition for Roam like at Home to become reality.


December - Formal adoption of a roaming fair use policy

On 15 December 2016, the European Commission adopted rules on the application of fair use policy on roaming at domestic price, as mandated by the co-legislator in October 2015.

Those rules were voted by Member State's representatives on 12 December 2016 before they were formally adopted by the College of Commissioners on 15 December 2016. Read the impact assessment and the additional analysis for more details.

The implementing rules on fair use policy make sure that negative effects of abusive usage of roam like at home can be avoided, so that all European travellers will enjoy the "Roam like at Home" by paying the same price as at home for mobile calls, texting or data when they travel in the EU.

June - Commission proposes maximum regulated wholesale roaming charges

Wholesale roaming prices are those which operators charge each other for using their network when their respective customers travel abroad. For the abolition of retail roaming charges to be sustainable throughout the EU, those prices need to be competitive in the EU in order to enable operators to offer retail roaming services to their customers without any charges in addition to the domestic price.

That is why the Roaming Regulation entrusted the Commission with the task of reviewing the wholesale roaming markets in the EU and making appropriate legislative proposals before 15 June 2016.

On 15 June 2016, the Commission proposed to set maximum regulated wholesale roaming charges at EUR 0.04 for a phone call per minute, EUR 0.01 for text message and EUR 0.0085 for one megabyte. Those maximum charges have been further reduced by the co-legislator when achieving a political agreement on the Commission proposal in January 2017.

April - Cheaper roaming

Roaming became cheaper again from 30 April 2016, during the transitional period preceding the introduction of full Roam like at home on 15 June 2017, when operators were allowed to charge a small additional amount to domestic prices up to:

  • EUR 0.05 for a phone call per minute (+VAT),
  • EUR 0.0114 for a call received per minute (+VAT),
  • EUR 0.02 per text message sent (+VAT)
  • EUR 0.05 per megabyte of data (+ VAT).



October - European Parliament and Council formally adopted the end of roaming charges when travelling in the EU

Following the Commission 'Connected Continent' proposal of 2013, the European Parliament and Council adopted new rules on roaming charges and open Internet. According to those rules, consumers will pay the same price as at home for calls, texts and mobile data wherever they are travelling in the EU as of 15 June 2017. The European Parliament and Council requested that before those rules can apply, the wholesale roaming market be appropriately reformed and a fair use policy of roaming at domestic prices be defined by the European commission.



Following the Commission 'Connected Continent' proposal of 2013, the European Parliament voted in April 2014 to end roaming charges.



The European Commission adopted a legislative package for a 'Connected Continent: Building a Telecoms Single Market' aimed at building a connected, competitive continent and enabling sustainable digital jobs and industries on 11 September 2013. This package aimed, among other things, to tackle issues like high premiums for roaming calls, which are an excessive irritant to business and leisure customers.



The price caps on roaming calls and SMS were further reduced and a price cap on roaming data was introduced. Structural measures were introduced to foster competition on the roaming market and drive roaming prices further down.



From 1 July 2011 the cap for data roaming wholesale prices (the price which operators charge each other) fell to EUR 0.50 per megabyte. Consumers opting for the EU-regulated "Eurotariff" paid no more than EUR 0.35 per minute for calls made and EUR 0.11 per minute for calls received while abroad in the EU.



From 1 July 2010 travellers' data-roaming limit was capped at EUR 50 (plus VAT). The operator had to cut off the mobile internet connection once the limit has been reached, unless the customer had indicated that they wanted to continue data roaming that particular month. In addition, maximum wholesale prices for data roaming fell from EUR 1 to EUR 0.80 per megabyte. The maximum price for making a roaming call was cut to EUR 0.39 per minute (plus VAT). Receiving a call cost a maximum of EUR 0.15 per minute (plus VAT). The cost of making and receiving calls when abroad in the EU was made 73% cheaper than in 2005.



The price cap on roaming calls was further reduced and a price cap on roaming SMS was introduced, as well as measures to avoid bill shocks. The price of roaming data at wholesale level (inter-operator roaming charge) was also capped.



The European Commission proposed to reduce the price of roaming text messages. People started to receive an automatic message informing them of data roaming charges corresponding to the country they were travelling in.



The European Union's first rules to address overcharging in roaming prices came in 2007 - the 'Eurotariff' capped maximum prices for phone calls made and received while abroad. These maximum prices apply to all consumers, unless they opt for special packages offered by operators. These rules have since been periodically reviewed and reformed, with further reductions in price caps and automatic protections against data roaming bill shocks.



The European Commission had launched a consultation to collect the feedback on broad roaming principles and concrete concept for the roaming regulation. Stakeholders including operators, NRAs, Member States, trade and user associations participated in this consultation. As a result of the submissions received, the Commission proposed an approach to bringing roaming charges closer to domestic prices.


Latest News

Related Content

Big Picture

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.