No roaming fees next year (* as long as you don't roam much)

The European Commission has drawn up rules to prevent operators and customers alike from abusing the end of roaming charges next year

There'll be no more roaming fees for European Union mobile phone subscribers next June -- as long as they don't roam for too long.

The European Commission announced with great fanfare last year that it would entirely abolish the surcharges for using a mobile phone network outside the subscriber's home country from June 2017. It had been steadily ratcheting down the cost of roaming in recent years.

The move prompted an outcry from network operators in low-cost countries worried about the possibility of arbitrage. They were concerned that people would profit from price differences by taking out cheaper subscriptions in other countries, becoming permanent roamers. The result would have been to bring costs down in some EU countries, but push them up in others.

Now the Commission has revealed its plan to prevent such arbitrage, by setting "fair use" policies for roaming.

The draft regulation will require EU network operators to allow their customers to roam on other EU networks for at least 90 days per year -- but customers will be required to log on to their home network at least once every 30 days to avoid surcharges. 

Those rules will cover the needs of almost all roaming customers, the Commission said.

Operators will be allowed to place restrictions on customers call or data volumes during those roaming days, too, although those restrictions can't be too tight. "The customer should nevertheless be able to consume volumes of such services equivalent to at least the average volume consumed domestically by the customers of the tariff plan in question," the draft said.

There will be exceptions for people who live on one side of a national border and work the other. Any days on which the customer logs on to both their home network and a foreign network should not count against the 90-day limit for roaming.

To prevent businesses from buying up prepaid SIM cards in low-cost countries and reselling them in high-cost countries, operators will also be allowed to require that a certain volume of services be paid for and consumed on the home network before a SIM can be used for roaming.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Peter Sayer

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?