Does your phone bill tend to be a whopper when you get back from a business trip? Well, that’ll soon be ancient history! Because from 15th June 2017, there will be no more surcharges to pay to use your mobile within the European Union.
If you travel on business regularly, you will no doubt have noticed the term “roaming” featuring on your mobile phone bill… But what does it mean exactly? Roaming is the official term denoting the use of a foreign mobile phone network. For you to be able to make calls abroad, the phone providers bill each other for the charges involved and these costs are then passed on to you. So when you use your mobile abroad to make calls, send texts or go online, you are required to pay a surcharge in addition to the national rates charged in your subscription of prepaid card. These extra costs are called “roaming charges”.
The final piece of the puzzle
Want to know the good news? The European Commission has announced the removal of roaming charges within the EU. In fact, the Commission has been fighting for years to get these charges scrapped. But now the deal is done: from 15th June 2017, your mobile calls, texts and data will be billed to you at the same rate when you are travelling within the EU as they would be if you were at home. However, if you exceed your contractual roaming limits you will still be charged, but at no more than the approved cap for wholesale roaming charges (find out what they are ).
Rules for fighting abuse
Nevertheless, to prevent abuse of the relaxed regulations, Europe has introduced a number of place safeguards: to obtain and use a SIM card within a member state, the buyer has to work, reside or study there.
All Europeans will have a period of 4 months each during which they can make calls from abroad without incurring additional charges. Of course the aim here is to prevent clever little devils from buying a SIM card in another country where the call rates are low and then using their smartphone all year round back home.