European Parliament votes to end roaming costs
The European Union has come to the agreement that all roaming costs will be scrapped as of 15 June 2017. The vote, which took place in April in the European Parliament, will mean EU citizens won’t be charged extra for calls, texts or internet usage outside their home country.
Finnish MEP, Miapetra Kumpula-Natri, commented saying the deal meant "Europeans would no longer be in a state of shock when they get their telephone bills."
Wholesale prices set
It’s been agreed that wholesale prices will be capped at 3.2 cents p/minute for a voice call, 1 cent per sent SMS, and that there will be a step-by-step reduction in data caps over the next five years.
More details of data prices can be seen in the European Commission’s press release.
The big news follows many years of work to lower, and eventually remove, overseas charges for EU citizens. Roaming charges have been falling for over a decade, and many operators in the UK have started to get rid of extra charges from their plans altogether.
The wholesale cap is intended to make sure operators can enjoy fair competition across Europe, and will be welcome news to millions who travel each year.
Mr Andrus Ansip, vice president for the Digital Single Market, said: "This was the last piece of the puzzle. As of 15 June, Europeans will be able to travel in the EU without roaming charges … today we deliver on our promise.”
Changes to your network
The UK networks are all offering similar changes to align with these new regulations. This is what you should expect from your network…
EE – As of 10 May 2017, all new and upgrading customers with EE can use their minutes, texts, and data in 48 destinations across Europe. And as of 15 June, when the big day arrives, all customers will be able to use their allowances abroad, too.
The destinations include: Austria, Azores, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Canary Islands, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, French Guyana, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Guadeloupe, Guernsey, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Isle of Man, Italy, Jersey, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madeira, Malta, Martinique, Mayotte, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Reunion Islands, Romania, San Marino, Saint Martin (French), Saint Barthelemy, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Vatican City (Italy).
O2 – O2’s list of places you can use your phone for free after 15 June is called their ‘Europe Zone’. The countries included are the same as the ones listed above for EE.
Vodafone – Previously, Vodafone charged £3 p/day to roam, but just like the other networks, roaming will be scrapped. As of 11 June 2017, Vodafone will be kicking off its Global Roaming package, which includes 40 destinations.
The roam-free destinations include: Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Channel Islands (Jersey, Guernsey), Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark (inc Faroe Islands), Estonia, Finland, France, French West Indies, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Isle of Man, Italy (inc Vatican City), Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal (incl. Madeira), Republic of Ireland, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain (incl. Canary Islands), Sweden, Switzerland, and Turkey.
A revision in 2019
It’s understood that the Commission will conduct a revision of the wholesale market by the end of 2019, which is the same year Britain is set to leave the EU. At the moment, it’s unknown if Brexit will have any affect on the roaming charges for Brits abroad, but until then we can all look forward to 15 June.
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