EU mobile roaming charges scrapped

A European Union (EU) law to abolish roaming charges for people using mobile phones abroad has come into force.

The new rules mean that citizens travelling within the EU will be able to use their mobile devices at the same price they pay at home.

The European Commission said the end of roaming charges was one of the greatest successes of the EU.

But a UK consumer group warned phone users could face “unexpected charges”.

Until now connection charges have been added to the cost of calls, texts and internet browsing. The addition was when consumers from one EU country travelled to another and connected to a mobile network there.

In some cases, mobile users have faced bills of hundreds of pounds if, for example, they have downloaded a film.

The European Commission released a statement regarding the new law. It said the Commission had been working hard over the last ten years to fix this “market failure”, it said.

“Eliminating roaming charges is one of the greatest and most tangible successes of the EU,” the Commission added.

The new legislation means travellers can use their regular data allowance anywhere in the EU.

But consumer organisation Which? warned that exceeding data allowances would still be chargeable.

Exceeding agreed minutes, texts and data would still be charged in the EU as it would in the UK. The rates will differ according to the provider’s charges, said Which?

In addition, different providers included different countries in their roaming territories, such as the Channel Islands and Switzerland.

Which? said mobile users should check the detail of their tariffs with their phone providers to avoid being caught out by surprise charges.

Independent telecoms advisor Dave Millet gave some caution in the wake of the news. “People should be aware that this change does not mean calling or texting European numbers is free, they remain chargeable.

“Users must still stay within their overall allowance.

“I would not be surprised if suppliers look at raising roaming charges elsewhere to compensate for the lost revenues.

“If you are paying for a bundle that gave you an allowance of EU minutes then you should ask the suppler to stop charging you.

“The fears about Brexit affecting this change and roaming charges re-appearing are probably over hyped as the deal covers also Norway and Switzerland who will participate”.

TNT Business

Photo Credit: Pexels

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