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When in Roam: surcharge cap scheme to be extended by another 10 years

The “Roam like at Home” scheme will be renewed for another ten years, under plans informally agreed between the European Parliament and Member States.

Under the agreement, a follow-up to the 2017 elimination of roaming surcharges, consumers will continue to be able to use their mobile phones when travelling abroad in the EU with no additional fees on top of what they already pay at home.

In addition, they would be entitled to the same quality and speed of mobile connection abroad as at home. Roaming providers will be obliged to offer the same roaming quality as those offered domestically, if the same conditions are available on the network in the visiting country.

MEPs also secured a provision to prohibit practices that reduce the quality of roaming services (e.g. by switching the connection from 4G to 3G).

Free access to emergency services

Travellers will have access to emergency services without any additional charge – whether by call or text message, including the transmission of caller location information.

Operators would also have to provide information about the European emergency number 112, it was agreed. People with disabilities will be able to access emergency services without additional charges.

Call for ending surcharges for intra-EU calls

During negotiations, MEPs pushed to end surcharges for intra-EU calls (e.g. when calling from Belgium to Italy), as consumers are still confused about the difference between roaming calls and intra-EU calls.

Intra-EU calls are currently capped at 19 cents per minute. The agreement provides for the Commission to look into the situation and assess whether further reduction of the caps are necessary.

Roaming caps

The new regulation sets the following wholesale caps on data services:

  • €2/GB in 2022, €1.8/GB in 2023, €1.55/GB in 2024, €1.3/GB in 2025, €1.1/GB in 2026, and €1/GB from 2027 onwards
  • For voice: €0.022/min in 2022-2024 and €0.019/min from 2025 onwards
  • For SMS: €0.004/SMS in 2022-2024 and €0.003/SMS from 2025 onwards

Next steps

The informal agreement will now have to be formally endorsed by Parliament and Council to come into force. The Industry, Research and Energy Committee will vote on the text in a forthcoming meeting.


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