The European Commission has been working since 2007 to end roaming charges in the EU. The Eurotariff capped prices for the whole EU as a first step. The tariffs were then gradually reduced and roaming charges were completely eliminated. Since 15 June 2017, people pay national prices for calls, SMS and surfing while travelling to other EU countries.

Roaming charges have changed sensibly overtime thanks to the work of the EC.

2017

15 June - Roam Like at Home

Roam like at Home becomes a reality for Europeans travelling within the EU/EEA from 15 June 2017. People pay domestic prices for roaming while travelling in other EU countries. This means that, while on travel in the EU/EEA, data, calls and SMS to any EU/EEA number are included in domestic bundles with no extra charge. National telecoms regulators are responsible for enforcing the new roaming rules.

January - Agreement on new wholesale roaming rules

The European Parliament and the Council concluded a political agreement on the new rules to be applied by operators on the wholesale roaming market, based on the proposal made by the Commission in June 2016. The agreement is about the maximum price that operators have to pay each other for using their respective networks when their customers travel abroad in the EU. This has been the last condition for Roam like at Home to become reality.

2016

December - Formal adoption of a roaming fair use policy

On 15 December 2016, the European Commission adopted rules on the application of fair use policy on roaming at domestic price, as mandated by the co-legislator in October 2015.

Those rules were voted by Member State's representatives on 12 December 2016 before they were formally adopted by the College of Commissioners on 15 December 2016. Read the impact assessment and the additional analysis for more details.

The implementing rules on fair use policy make sure that negative effects of abusive usage of roam like at home can be avoided, so that all European travelers will enjoy the "Roam like at Home" by paying the same price as at home for mobile calls, texting or data when they travel in the EU.

June - Commission proposes maximum regulated wholesale roaming charges

Wholesale roaming prices are those which operators charge each other for using their network when their respective customers travel abroad. For the abolition of retail roaming charges to be sustainable throughout the EU, those prices need to be competitive in the EU in order to enable operators to offer retail roaming services to their customers without any charges in addition to the domestic price.

That is why the Roaming Regulation entrusted the Commission with the task of reviewing the wholesale roaming markets in the EU and making appropriate legislative proposals before 15 June 2016.

On 15 June 2016, the Commission proposed to set maximum regulated wholesale roaming charges at € 0.04 for a phone call per minute, € 0.01 for text message and € 0.0085 for one megabyte. Those maximum charges have been further reduced by the co-legislator when achieving a political agreement on the Commission proposal in January 2017.

April - Cheaper roaming

Roaming became cheaper again from 30 April 2016, during the transitional period preceding the introduction of full Roam like at home on 15 June 2017, when operators were allowed to charge a small additional amount to domestic prices up to:

  • € 0.05 for a phone call per minute (+VAT),
  • € 0.0114 for a call received per minute (+VAT),
  • € 0.02 per text message sent (+VAT)
  • € 0.05 per megabyte of data (+ VAT).

Documents

2015

October - European Parliament and Council formally adopted the end of roaming charges when travelling in the EU

Following the Commission "Connected Continent" proposal of 2013, the European Parliament and Council adopted new rules on roaming charges and open Internet. According to those rules, consumers will pay the same price as at home for calls, texts and mobile data wherever they are travelling in the EU as of 15 June 2017. The European Parliament and Council requested that, before those rules can apply, the wholesale roaming market be appropriately reformed and a fair use policy of roaming at domestic prices be defined by the European commission.

Documents

2014

Following the Commission "Connected Continent" proposal of 2013, the European Parliament voted in April 2014 to end roaming charges.

Documents

2013

The European Commission 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 on 11 September 2013. This package aimed, among other things, to tackle issues like high premiums for roaming calls, which are an excessive irritant to business and leisure customers.

Documents

2012

The price caps on roaming calls and SMS were further reduced and a price cap on roaming data was introduced. Structural measures were introduced to foster competition on the roaming market and drive roaming prices further down.

Documents

2011

From 1 July 2011 the cap for data roaming wholesale prices (the price which operators charge each other) fell to € 0.50 per megabyte. Consumers opting for the EU-regulated "Eurotariff" paid no more than € 0.35 per minute for calls made and € 0.11 per minute for calls received while abroad in the EU.

Documents

2010

From 1 July 2010 travellers' data-roaming limit was capped at €50 (plus VAT). The operator had to cut off the mobile internet connection once the limit has been reached, unless the customer had indicated that they wanted to continue data roaming that particular month. In addition, maximum wholesale prices for data roaming fell from €1 to € 0.80 per megabyte. The maximum price for making a roaming call was cut to € 0.39 per minute (plus VAT). Receiving a call costed a maximum of € 0.15 per minute (plus VAT). The cost of making and receiving calls when abroad in the EU was made 73% cheaper than in 2005.

Documents

2009

The price cap on roaming calls was further reduced and a price cap on roaming SMS was introduced, as well as measures to avoid bill shocks. The price of roaming data at wholesale level (inter-operator roaming charge) was also capped.

Documents

2008

The European Commission proposed to reduce the price of roaming text messages. People started to receive an automatic message informing them of data roaming charges corresponding to the country they were travelling in.

Documents

2007

The European Union'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.

Documents

2006

The European Commission had launched a consultation to collect the feedback on broad roaming principles and concrete concept for the roaming regulation. Stakeholders including operators, NRAs, Member States, trade and user associations participated in this consultation. As a result of the submissions received, the Commission proposed an approach to bringing roaming charges closer to domestic prices.

Documents

 

Published: 
12 June 2017
Last update: 
18 July 2017
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