It’s happening: ‘Last piece of the puzzle’ in place for EU roaming charges to end soon
It felt like a pipe dream only a few years back, a distant plan that could always fall through in 2015, and still a long way to go last spring. But everything is now officially in place for EU travelers to stop paying calling, texting and even data consumption premiums while away from home.
Well, almost. An agreement reached yesterday between representatives of the European Parliament, Council and Commission on wholesale roaming markets regulations needs to be formally approved, and a grace period will be allowed for operators to take “all the necessary preparatory steps for the introduction of roam-like-at-home.”
Cellular providers in member states of the European Union have until June 15 to revise their policies and business strategies, dropping preferential roaming fees once and for all. In a nutshell, that means wherever the road takes you within the EU borders, you’ll be charged the same exact communication service prices. No exceptions, no hikes.
Meanwhile, operators will charge each other no more than 3.2 cents per minute of voice call and 1 cent per SMS starting June 15, and a maximum of €2.5 a gigabyte of data as of January 1 2022. Why 2022? Because mobile web browsing caps are to be reduced step by step, from €7.7 per GB as of June 15 2017 to €6 next January, €4.5 the year after that, €3.5 in early 2020, and €3 between 2021 and 2022.
This way, the European Commission’s Vice-President for the Digital Single Market claims, “operators can continue competing to provide the most attractive offers to their home markets”, and everyone’s happy.