Latest in Gear

Image credit:

Europe's free roaming law comes with an asterisk

You can enjoy 30 days at a time and up to 90 total days of free roaming per year.
Matt Brian, @m4tt
September 6, 2016
Share
Tweet
Share

Sponsored Links

Getty Images/iStockphoto

In June 2017, the European Commission will get its wish and scrap roaming charges for travellers across the continent. Phone calls, text messages and data downloads abroad will be treated as if they originated at home, but there will be a catch. In new plans set out this week, the Commission will instruct operators to let consumers roam for in Europe up to 30 days at a time, for a total of 90 days per year.

To stop abuse, representatives had called for a fair use policy to stop travellers from buying cheap SIM deals in one European country and then abusing those benefits in another. The new plans are a first look at how the Commission intends to deal with that issue. They appear to lean on existing free movement agreements made by Member States that require some citizens to register their residency if they stay for a period of more than 90 days in a year. It's determining whether a person can a considered a traveller or a (semi-permenant) resident -- the latter of which would possibly need to buy a local mobile SIM.

Since April 2016, operators have capped roaming charges at €0.05 per minute, €0.06 per SMS and €0.20 per MB. The new plans will lower call and text message prices to €0.04 per minute and €0.01 per SMS, while data usage is being cut to 0.85 cents (€0.0085) per MB. To help people who regularly travel between countries for work, the Commission says that as long as they log onto their home network once a day, they will not be included in the 30-day and 90-day limits.

This is not to say that carriers cannot be more lenient with their roaming restrictions. These limits are effectively a basic right for all Europeans, and you can expect to see operators continue to differentiate themselves by offering better deals.

Representatives will now invite member countries and the EU's telecoms regulator to comment on proposals before they're adopted on December 15th. Overall, it looks like consumers who enjoy "unlimited" data plans at home will be offered the same opportunities abroad, as long as they don't exceed average their carrier's domestic usage limits.

In this article: EC, EU, europe, europeancommission, gear, mobile, roaming
All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Comment
Comments
Share
Tweet
Share

Popular on Engadget

What’s good about Amazon’s Fire TV Stick?

What’s good about Amazon’s Fire TV Stick?

View
Google Meet’s premium features are now free through Sept. 30th

Google Meet’s premium features are now free through Sept. 30th

View
The best games for PC

The best games for PC

View
Rain may soon be an effective source of renewable energy

Rain may soon be an effective source of renewable energy

View
The best games for Nintendo Switch

The best games for Nintendo Switch

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr