Insights European Commission publishes legislative proposal for a new Roaming Regulation


The new Regulation will prolong the current rules, which are due to expire in 2022, for another ten years. The Commission says that it will also ensure better roaming services for travellers. For example, consumers will be entitled to have the same quality and speed of their mobile network connection abroad as at home, where equivalent networks are available. The new rules will also secure efficient access to emergency services, including improving awareness about alternative means for people with disabilities, as well as increase consumer awareness on possible fees from using value-added services while roaming.

The Commission says that, according to a new Eurobarometer survey, half of Europeans who own a mobile phone travelled to another EU country in the last two years. Thanks to the current Roaming Regulation (531/2012/EU) EU roaming charges ended on 15 June 2017 and, since then, almost 170 million citizens enjoy roaming-free prices and benefits of staying connected while travelling in the single market. Use of data roaming increased 17 times in the summer of 2019, compared to the summer before the abolition of roaming surcharges (summer of 2016). This rapid and massive increase in roaming traffic since June 2017 shows that the end of roaming charges has unleashed the untapped demand for mobile consumption by travellers in the 27 EU Member States, as well as in Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. The current rules expire on 30 June 2022, and the conditions on the mobile telecoms market are still not conducive to sustainable “roam like at home” for all businesses and customers while travelling in the EU. Therefore, the Commission says, it is important to extend the rules.

The Commission says that the new rules will ensure that roaming without charges and the enhanced benefits for consumers is sustainable for operators. The rules envisage further reductions in wholesale roaming prices. Inter-operator price caps are set at a level that allows operators to recover the cost of providing roaming services. At the same time, it preserves incentives to invest in networks and avoid distortion of domestic competition in the markets of the visited countries. To read the Commission’s press release in full and for a link to the proposed legislative text, click here.