Roaming charges within the European Union
Regulation (EU) No 531/2012 — roaming on public mobile communications networks within the EU
WHAT IS THE AIM OF THE REGULATION?
It aims to end roaming charges while travelling within the EU. This means that EU citizens travelling within the EU can make calls, send text messages and access the internet on their mobile phones for the same price as in their own countries.
It also sets out safeguards to ensure that mobile telephone operators are protected against abuses and can sustain the new roaming rules without increasing domestic prices.
Regulation (EU) 2017/920 amends Regulation (EU) No 531/2012 with effect from 15 June 2017. It introduces rules that limit the amount that mobile telephone operators may charge one another for roaming (i.e. wholesale roaming) in the EU.
Call, text and data costs incurred while travelling in another EU country will be deducted from the user’s domestic volume.
Operators do not have to offer roaming services; however, if they do, they must observe the ‘roam like at home’ principle and charge users only the domestic rate.
The regulation is not intended to permit ‘permanent roaming’, where a subscriber identity module (SIM) card from another EU country is used on a permanent basis.
- Operators can detect abuses of the principle by analysing roaming and domestic calls and use of mobile services over a 4-month period.
- If a customer spends a majority of their time abroad and uses their mobile phone more abroad than at home, the operator can ask the customer to clarify the situation within 14 days.
- This check is designed to target those who stay abroad for long periods, not those who log on to their national network regularly, such as frontier workers.
If a user remains permanently outside the country where the SIM card was issued, the operator can apply a surcharge:
- maximum €0.032 per minute of voice call;
- maximum €0.01 per short message service (SMS);
- maximum €7.70 per gigabyte of data from 15 June 2017 to 31 December 2017, decreasing on 1 January each year as follows: €6 in 2018, €4.50 in 2019, €3.50 in 2020, €3 in 2021 and €2.50 in 2022.
In case of domestic ‘open data bundles’ (i.e. unlimited data, or data at a very low unit price), the operator may apply a limit to roaming data without surcharge. This limit must be above a threshold based on the price of the domestic bundle and is large enough to cover most customers’ roaming needs. Beyond this limit, the customer can continue data roaming with a surcharge as indicated above.
The national regulator may authorise an exception to the ‘roam like at home’ principle in cases where an operator can show, based on evidence, that it cannot provide ‘roam like at home’ services without increasing its domestic prices.
FROM WHEN DOES THE REGULATION APPLY?
It has applied since 1 July 2012.
For more information, see:
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) (OJ L 172, 30.6.2012, pp. 10-35)
Successive amendments to Regulation (EU) No 531/2012 have been incorporated into the original text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.
Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2016/2286 of 15 December 2016 laying down detailed rules on the application of fair use policy and on the methodology for assessing the sustainability of the abolition of retail roaming surcharges and on the application to be submitted by a roaming provider for the purposes of that assessment (OJ L 344, 17.12.2016, pp. 46-62)
Regulation (EU) 2015/2120 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 November 2015 laying down measures concerning open internet access and amending Directive 2002/22/EC on universal service and users’ rights relating to electronic communications networks and services and Regulation (EU) No 531/2012 on roaming on public mobile communications networks within the Union (OJ L 310, 26.11.2015, pp. 1-18)
last update 08.02.2018