One of the EU firms’ plans to eliminate mobile phone roaming charges is being expanded.
MEPs say they have reached an agreement with EU countries to keep the policy in place for another decade until 2032.
The “Roam Like at Home” regulation has been in effect since 2017. It allows EU residents to call, text and use mobile data while traveling within the EU at no additional cost and with the same quality they experience at home .
“The new regulation will extend until 2032 the existing system according to which citizens cannot be subject to additional charges for calls or data used while traveling within the EU and will also bring new advantages”, the The European Commission said in a statement.
Thierry Breton, Commissioner for Internal Market, added that “traveling abroad without having to worry about phone bills is a tangible part of the EU Single Market experience for all Europeans. Today we are not just making sure that this experience continues We are improving that: better quality, better services, even more transparency. “
The new regulation, which will take effect on July 1, 2022, will introduce additional benefits and protections for consumers such as 5G coverage whenever possible for people who typically have 5G services at home, says the European Commission.
Operators will also need to inform consumers of additional charges when calling services such as service numbers, helpdesks, or insurance companies, which are generally free or limited charges when calling from home.
They will also need to inform their customers via text message on how to contact emergency services when traveling, including the 112 phone number and any alternative means of accessing emergency services, such as real-time text messages or applications available, for people with disabilities.
The regulation will also introduce lower wholesale rates, the costs charged by mobile hosting operators, in exchange for access to their respective networks.
“It is very good news that the agreement reached not only confirms that the ban on roaming charges will continue, but will also improve the existing roaming experience for consumers,” said Ursula Pachl, deputy director general of the European Consumers Organization ( BEUC).
“For example, consumers should now receive the same quality of service when roaming as when they are in their home country, as long as it is technically feasible.
“It is also positive that consumers will be better protected against the bills that result from inadvertently connecting to a mobile or satellite network outside the EU.
“It is a pity that the final agreement does not include cheaper calls or messages within the EU. Despite the existing limits, consumers continue to pay exorbitant prices for calling another EU country compared to making a national call, which is not justified given that we live in a single EU market and have addressed the prices of roaming. We ask the Commission to propose legislation that further reduces the cost of communications within the EU as soon as possible. ”
According to a Eurobarometer from February 2021, 33% of respondents who traveled abroad reported a lower mobile Internet speed than they usually have at home, and 28% had a lower network standard abroad: 3G network instead of 4G.
A study conducted by the Joint Research Center and published in March also found that 25% of customers had experienced, at least once, a poorer quality of service when roaming compared to home, even when network conditions They could have provided better quality.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism