In great news for travellers, Europe has announced that it will be scrapping mobile data roaming charges – meaning holidaymakers will no longer have to dread coming home to a huge phone bill.
Roaming charges refer to charges levied on travellers by telecommunications companies, when they make calls, text and use the internet on their mobile phone while overseas.
In the past, travellers in Europe would have to purchase a new SIM card for each country, or rack up ludicrous phone bills using their own Australian-bought data plans. Now, users within the EU will be charged the same as they would at home.
The European parliament made the announcement in October, with the new rules set to roll out across the EU by June 2017. Europeans will also experience fee cuts for using data across the board by next summer.
In the interim, from 30 April 2016, a cap on charges will come into effect. The European Commission has said this will lower roaming costs within the EU by 75 per cent. In April next year, costs are set to be reduced to five cents per minute for outgoing calls, two cents per SMS and five cents per megabyte of data used.
While travellers welcome the news, not everyone is happy. The legislation has faced criticism by net neutrality advocates, who claim the new rules and lack of regulative amendments to the new bill, will allow internet providers to charge consumers for additional ‘specialised services’ in hopes of recouping lost revenue.
Want to know how you can avoid roaming charges when travelling? Our article, ‘Roaming without the skyhigh rates‘ should give you some handy tips.