Économie

Free mobile roaming in the EU to be extended until 2032

Using a mobile phone at no extra cost when traveling within the European Union will probably still be possible until 2032 at least. The current agreement expires in 2022.

Woman using mobile phone while traveling
Since 2017, there was no extra fee for mobile data across the European Union. But the agreement expires in June 2022 | © Daria Nepriakhina

On December 9, European Union Council and European Union Parliament provisionally agreed on extending the “roam like at home” scheme.

The scheme allows people to travel across EU countries with no extra roaming fees when making phone calls, sending texts and browsing the web.

However, the current roaming regulation has an expiration date. The scheme expires on 30 June 2022. It first came into force only in 2017.

But negotiators reached to a provisional agreement to further extend it until 2032. Users would then be able to access the same quality of service abroad with no additional costs of what they pay at home.

It means that telecom companies are forced to offer the same roaming quality as what is provided domestically.

Members of parliament secured a provision to avoid reduction in quality of services, for instance by switching from a 4G to a 3G connection.

Data charges between operators capped by law

For the scheme to be renewed, data needs to be charged at a rather homogeneous price across EU member state operators. The same principle goes for price on calls or text messages.

The agreement includes a price at which each operator charges each other when their users use other networks when traveling. Wholesale roaming charges are capped at 2 euros per Gigabyte from 2022 until progressively going down to €1 in 2027.

To adopt the roam-like-at-home regime in 2017, price caps had decreased from €50/Gb to €7.7/Gb.

In summer 2018, the first year of the scheme was applied, roaming consumption was 12 times higher than in 2017.

The informal agreement will now have to be endorsed by Parliament and Council to come into force.

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