EU Roaming Charges Finally Scrapped

Use Your Phone Across the EU at No Extra Cost

New legislation has abolished roaming charges for UK mobile phones across the EU. But the effects of Brexit are yet to be made clear.

UK holidaymakers are celebrating the news that they will be able to use their UK mobiles while travelling within the EU without incurring additional costs. The European Commission released a statement on 14 June, announcing that roaming charges will be abolished. The new legislation applies to data, calls and texts. It means we will be able to use our UK data allowances anywhere within the EU.

If you have travel plans coming up, whether it is for a business trip or to catch some summer sun, why not take advantage of some of the great deals available on second hand mobiles and stay in touch with family, friends and colleagues wherever you go?

Long overdue

A Commission spokesman commented that the issue of roaming charges had been on its agenda for some time, having long been seen as a “market failure” of the EU. The charges had meant that users could arrive home to be faced with a hefty bill for using their phone on an overseas mobile network. This could easily run into the hundreds of pounds for anyone using large amounts of data, for example by downloading a film.

What is covered?

The legislation confirms that EU countries cannot charge an additional premium for using your phone. So this means that if you make calls, send texts or use data while in the EU, it will cost the same as it costs you at home. If you exceed your allowances, the charges for doing so will be exactly the same as they are at home.

The deal also applies to Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland, which are not in the EU, but are in the European Economic Area.

Any exceptions?

It is important to understand that aside from the exceptions mentioned above, the legislation is only effective within the EU. So if you travel to non-EU countries, you will still face roaming charges. Be aware of your surroundings – for example, if you venture into Monaco or the Vatican City, you are leaving the EU and so could be exposed to charges.

What about call charges?

The key point to keep in mind is that the legislation states local networks cannot charge extra – it will be just like using your phone in the UK. But this means, of course, that if you are in Spain and call a local Spanish number, it will still be charged as an international call. Remember the golden rule that charges are just the same as in the UK and you can’t go wrong.

What about Brexit?

The new legislation is part of a European regulation that applies to all EU members. It has not been enshrined in UK law, so in short, it will be down to the future UK government to decide what happens when the UK is no longer part of the European Union.

This topic will certainly be one of the items up for discussion as part of the Article 50 negotiations. However, we cannot realistically expect it to be at the top of the list, so it will be a case of watching and waiting.