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Summaries of EU Legislation

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Roaming on mobile phone networks

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Roaming on mobile phone networks

The aim of this regulation is to ensure that mobile phone users do not pay excessive prices for EU-wide roaming services (calls, text messages and Internet use) when travelling within the EU.


Regulation (EU) No 531/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 June 2012 on roaming on public mobile communications networks within the Union (recast)


The key aim of this regulation is to boost competition in the market for mobile phone users who use their phone for calls, text messages or Internet access when travelling abroad in the EU. This is called ‘roaming’.

The regulation introduces two main changes.

Under the new EU roaming rules, which came into effect on 1 July 2012, there will be further reductions in the price caps for the amount people pay for roaming services while travelling within the EU. Using mobile Internet to access maps, photos, social networks and e-mail is becoming much more affordable when travelling in other EU countries as is making and receiving voice calls and text messages as a result of new price caps.

Also, as of 1 July 2012, people travelling outside the EU receive a warning text message, e-mail or pop-up window when they are coming close to EUR 50 of data downloads or their pre-agreed level. This extends the alert system currently in place within the EU.

From 1 July 2014, consumers are able to choose a separate roaming contract before they travel or, where available, a provider of mobile data roaming services directly on a visited network. Consumers are therefore able to easily compare roaming offers (independently from other mobile services) and benefit from lower prices.

From 1 July 2014, roaming consumers pay no more than 19 cents per minute to make a call, 5 cents per minute to receive a call, 6 cents to send a text message and 20 cents per megabyte (MB) to download data or browse the Internet whilst travelling abroad (charged per kilobyte used).



Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Regulation (EU) No 531/2012



OJ L 172 of 30.6.2012


Regulation (EC) No 717/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 June 2007 on roaming on public mobile communication networks within the Community and amending Directive 2002/21/EC.

Directive 2002/21/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 March 2002 on a common regulatory framework for electronic communications networks and services (Framework Directive) (OJ L 108 of 24.4.2002).


Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down measures concerning the European single market for electronic communications and to achieve a Connected Continent, and amending Directives 2002/20/EC, 2002/21/EC and 2002/22/EC and Regulations (EC) No 1211/2009 and (EU) No 531/2012 (COM(2013) 627 final of 11.9.2013 - not published in the Official Journal).

The aim here is to move towards a single market for electronic communications in which citizens and businesses can access electronic communications services wherever they are provided in the EU (without cross-border restrictions or unjustified additional costs) and in which companies providing electronic communications networks and services can operate and provide them wherever they are based or their customers are situated in the EU.

As regards roaming, it seeks solutions such as guaranteeing high levels of consumer protection across the EU and common commercial conditions for this, including measures to gradually end mobile roaming surcharges and safeguarding access to the open Internet.

last update 05.02.2014