February 6, 2017
As the last step towards the end of roaming charges by 15 June 2017, representatives of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission have agreed on how to regulate wholesale roaming markets (the prices operators charge each other when their customers use other networks when roaming in the EU).
EU negotiators have agreed on the following wholesale caps:
- 2 cents per minute of voice call, as of 15 June 2017;
- 1 cent per SMS, as of 15 June 2017; and
- a step-by-step reduction over five years for data caps decreasing from €7.7 per GB (as of 15 June 2017) to €6 per GB (as of 1 January 2018), €4.5 per GB (as of 1 January 2019), €3.5 per GB (as of 1 January 2020), €3 per GB (as of 1 January 2021) and €2.5 per GB (as of 1 January 2022).
The agreement is the final step in making “roam-like-at-home” work as of 15 June 2017. It means that when travelling in the EU, consumers will be able to call, send SMS or surf on their mobile for the same prices they pay at home. The Commission says that the agreement makes “roam-like-at-home” sustainable for people and businesses, while ensuring cost recovery and keeping national wholesale roaming markets competitive.
Thanks to the political agreement on wholesale rules and the rules on fair use policy and sustainability adopted by the Commission in December 2016, consumers can use their home subscriptions when travelling abroad. If consumers exceed their contract limits when roaming, any additional charges will not be higher than the wholesale roaming caps now agreed.
The Commission will conduct a review of the wholesale market by the end of 2019 and provide colegislators with an interim assessment by 15 December 2018.
The European Parliament and the Council must now formally approve the agreement. The new wholesale roaming prices will become applicable on 15 June 2017 in time for operators to take all the necessary preparatory steps for the introduction of roam-like-at-home by then. To read the Commission’s press release in full, click here.