Menu
EU sets June 2017 as date to end mobile roaming charges

EU sets June 2017 as date to end mobile roaming charges

A compromise on roaming regulations agreed on Monday night still needs approval from member states and the European Parliament

Entrance of the European Parliament's Altiero Spinelli Building in Brussels on June 17, 2015

Entrance of the European Parliament's Altiero Spinelli Building in Brussels on June 17, 2015

European Union citizens will have to wait another couple of years before they are able to use their mobile phones anywhere within the EU without surcharge, after a compromise reached by lawmakers Monday night.

The European Commission and Parliament had agreed on a target of the end of this year to eliminate roaming fees levied by network operators when subscribers use their phones outside their home country.

However, representatives of the EU's member states in the Council of the EU, the bloc's third decision-making body, wanted to wait until mid-2018.

On Monday night, council officials agreed on a compromise text with Parliament representatives, setting June 2017 as the date to end roaming charges. Despite the additional delay, the Commission welcomed the agreement.

While the abolition of roaming charges has widespread support, the text -- part of a broader reform of telecommunications law -- also includes provisions on net neutrality that are proving more controversial. The Netherlands has already said it will vote against the text because of these provisions, even though they are not yet fully defined.

Although travellers will have to wait two more years for the outright abolition of roaming fees, from next April rules already in place will set a limit for the difference between roaming fees and domestic call charges. Current rules put absolute caps on roaming costs of €0.19 (US$0.21) per minute for calls, €0.06 per text message and €0.20 per megabyte of data. From April, roaming surcharges will be limited to €0.05 per minute, €0.02 per text and €0.05 per megabyte relative to domestic costs.

Setting the rules in this way could have allowed people to choose the cheapest operator not just in their home country, but anywhere in Europe, and then spend all their time roaming. However, under the proposed rules agreed on Monday, providers will be allowed to prevent "abusive use of roaming," including using roaming services for purposes other than periodic travel.

Meanwhile, national regulators will be able to grant exceptions to network operators on request. The exceptions are meant to take the sustainability of domestic charges and the level of national prices and revenues into account. This clause was designed for the Nordic states, which have very low retail prices, and is meant to avoid market distortion, Marietje Schaake, a Member of the European Parliament who attended the negotiations said in an email.

The latest proposal still needs formal approval from the EU member states and from the entire European Parliament before it can become law.

Loek is Amsterdam Correspondent and covers online privacy, intellectual property, online payment issues as well as EU technology policy and regulation for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to loek_essers@idg.com


Follow Us

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.

Tags governmentregulationlegislationeuropean commissionEuropean ParliamentCouncil of the European Union

Featured

Slideshows

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ

Partners are actively building out security practices and services to match, yet remain challenged by a lack of guidance in the market. This exclusive Reseller News Roundtable - in association with Sophos - assessed the making of an MSSP, outlining the blueprint for growth and how partners can differentiate in New Zealand.

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ
Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018

Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018

The leading players of the New Zealand channel came together to celebrate a year of achievement at the inaugural Reseller News Platinum Club lunch in Auckland. Following the Reseller News Innovation Awards, Platinum Club provides a platform to showcase the top performing partners and start-ups of the past 12 months, with more than ​​50 organisations in the spotlight.​​​

Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018
Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

HP has honoured its leading partners in New Zealand during 2018, following 12 months of growth through the local channel. Unveiled during the fourth running of the ceremony in Auckland, the awards recognise and celebrate excellence, growth, consistency and engagement of standout Kiwi partners.

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ
Show Comments