When you travel to a foreign country with your mobile phone, you are roaming - your mobile phone company and one in the foreign country work together to keep you connected, so you can make and receive mobile phone calls, write text messages, surf the Web and download content.
However, weak competition among national operators for roaming customers has, at times, led to excessive prices for these services.
The European Commission's first rules to address overcharging in roaming prices came in 2007 - the “Eurotariff” capped maximum prices for phone calls made and received while abroad. These maximum prices apply to all consumers, unless they opt for special packages offered by operators. These rules have since been periodically reviewed and reformed, with further reductions in price caps and automatic protections against data roaming bill shocks.
The results on roaming tariffs speak for themselves:
- The EU has achieved retail price reductions across calls, SMS and data of over 80% since 2007;
- Data roaming is now up to 91% cheaper compared to 2007;
- Since 2007, the volume of the data roaming market has grown by 630%;
- Visitors to Croatia will enjoy spectacular savings this year, as the cost for data is almost 15 times cheaper than before.
High premiums for roaming and intra-EU calls are an excessive irritant to business and leisure customers; they are a market distortion with no rational place in a single market – they teach users to fear their phones instead of using them. To tackle this issue, on 11 September 2013 (calendar), we adopted a legislative package for a "Connected Continent: Building a Telecoms Single Market" aimed at building a connected, competitive continent and enabling sustainable digital jobs and industries.