Europe ends mobile roaming charges

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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. 

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Written by ameliath

6 Comments

Total Comments: 6
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    “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.”

    Not recently! I was in Europe in September visiting UK, Hungary, Slovakia and Austria. As I pre-pay for mobile phone access in Australia there was no way I was even contemplating using it in Europe. I bought an off the shelf sim card from a supermarket for the total of 15 pounds (about $30). I had seamless access to phone and data in all 4 countries. Each time I crossed a border, I received a text telling me so and what the charges would be – they were cheap and all the same. Add that to the availability of free wifi EVERYWHERE even in remote little villages, and I returned to Australia with a little credit still remaining on the SIM. Why can’t it be like that in Australia? It has absolutely nothing to do with ‘the tyranny of distance’ but everything to do with greed of the telecom companies. Time to legislate here too – if Europe can do it then so can Australia.

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    Totally agree KSS. Every time I have travelled overseas I have purchased an sim card from a supermarket chain here in Aust for $30. $10 phone credit, top up available, cheap rates for all countries I have visited including Austria, Germany, Switzerland etc. Only way to go when using your phone overseas. Do not use your Australian provider when travelling overseas.

  3. 0
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    Why purchase a sim. Use Skype. Cheap as chips.
    Why do you think the EU is removing a rip off charge?

    • 0
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      Great idea Mick but unfortunately not all people have Skype. I use Skype from my home computer to chat to my son in Barcelona I didn’t use to have a smart phone so Skype was not an option when I travelled

  4. 0
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    As there is WIFI just about, I use Viber where you can ring just about any phone number in the world – unlike Skype where the number you ring has to be Skype enabled. Call costs are around 5 cents a minute

  5. 0
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    Reading the article in the Guardian it seems that this applies more to UK users travelling in Europe, no mention of other countries if I am not mistaken


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