April 4, 2022
The current Roaming Regulation (531/2012/EU) expires on 30 June 2022. Following provisional agreement in December 2021 between Parliament and the Council on updated roaming rules to ensure that people can continue to make calls, text and browse the web while travelling in other EU countries, the European Parliament has now formally adopted the revised text. The “Roam Like at Home” scheme will run for another ten years. The legislation means that 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, consumers will enjoy the same quality and speed of mobile connection abroad as at home. Roaming providers will be obliged to offer the same roaming quality to that provided domestically, if the same conditions are available on the network of the visiting country. In negotiations with Council, MEPs secured a provision in the new rules to prohibit practices that reduce the quality of roaming services (e.g. by switching the connection from 4G to 3G).
Travellers and people with disabilities will also have access to emergency services without any additional charge, whether by call or text message, including the transmission of caller location information. Operators will also have to provide information about the European emergency number 112.
During talks with Member State ministers, MEPs pushed for an end to 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. The costs of intra-EU calls are currently capped at 19 cents per minute. The new text provides for the Commission to assess whether further reductions of the caps are necessary.
Wholesale roaming charges (the price operators charge each other when their customers use other networks) will be capped at €2 per Gigabyte from 2022 and will reduce progressively to €1 in 2027. If consumers exceed their contract limits when roaming, any additional charges cannot be higher than the wholesale roaming caps.
The text will now have to be formally endorsed by the Council to come into force. To read the European Parliament’s press release in full, click here.