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From July Europeans will pay less when using mobile devices abroad

From July Europeans will pay less when using mobile devices abroad

The European Union has reached a preliminary deal on the new EU Roaming Rules proposed by the European Commission last year. The European Parliament is expected to approve the agreement in May 2012 and the Council in June, paving the way for the new rules to enter into force on 1 July 2012.


Data roaming regulated for the first time

The new Roaming Rules will offer a long-term solution to the high cost of using mobile phones and other smart devices whilst travelling in the EU.

Regulated for the first time will be data roaming, the downloading of data from the internet when using a mobile connection abroad. Europeans travelling abroad will now have to pay 70 cents per Megabyte to download data or browse the Internet, charged per Kilobyte used plus VAT.

As for customers travelling outside the EU, they will now be protected from unexpected ‘bill shocks’ for downloading data by a text message, e-mail or pop up warning them that the monthly allotted level of 50 EUR of data downloads (or their pre-agreed level) is to be surpassed.


Separate mobile contract for roaming from 2014

As from 1 July 2014, Europeans will be able to sign up for a separate mobile contract for roaming, independent from their contract for national mobile services, while at same time retaining their existing phone number. This will also bring the option of mobile operators in visited EU countries directly offering data roaming services on their own networks.

The regulation will give mobile operators the right to use other Member State operators’ networks: from 1 July 2012 on virtual mobile operators and resellers who do not have their own networks will have the right to access other operators’ networks at regulated wholesale prices in order to provide roaming services, thus encouraging competition on the roaming market.


Prices to be progressively lowered until 2014

Until the new roaming measures come fully into effect, retail price caps for roaming services in the EU are going to be progressively lowered from 1 July 2012 on, until in 2014 roaming will cost no more than 19 cents per minute to make a call, 5 cents per minute to receive a call, 6 cents to send a text message and 20 cents per Megabyte to download data. These retail caps will operate as a safeguard for consumers until 30 June 2017.

Current and new retail roaming price caps:
1 July 2012
1 July 2013
1 July 2014
Data (per MB)
70 cents
45 cents
20 cents
Voice-calls made (per minute)
35 cents
29 cents
24 cents
19 cents
Voice-calls received (per minute)
11 cents
8 cents
7 cents
5 cents
SMS (per SMS)
11 cents
9 cents
8 cents
6 cents
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