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Data roaming charges to be eliminated for travelling mobile phone users

29 Oct 2015

Data roaming costs are set to be abolished from 15 June 2017, as a result of a European Parliament vote on the matter.

Roaming charges are added to mobile phone users’ bills when the internet or other online services such as YouTube, Facebook and Netflix are accessed abroad. Users may also incur charges for making or receiving calls or text messages.

From 30 April 2016, an interim cap on data roaming charges will be brought into force, ahead of the full ban across the entirety of the EU.

Subsequently, telecom operators will be restricted in the amount that they can add in surcharges. These will be no more than:

  • €0.05 (3.5p) extra per minute for calls
  • €0.02 (1p) extra per SMS message
  • €0.05 extra per megabyte of data.

According to the European Commission, these reduced surcharges mean that the use of mobile phones whilst abroad in Europe will be 75% cheaper than it was before.

The abolishment aims to prevent consumers from being subject to hefty bills when accessing or downloading data during their travels.

However, critics suggest that revenue loss for telecoms companies may drive up prices for non-travellers, with some warning that operators may be tempted to increase roaming charges for those travelling outside the EU.