From 15 June 2017, there are no roaming charges in the EU for most of those with a mobile phone on an EU contract. The new rules compelling operators to axe the charges, announced in September last year, are now in force.
Countries outside the EU, but within the European Economic Area (EEA), including Norway, Iceland, and Switzerland’s neighbour Liechtenstein, are included, but Switzerland isn’t. While technically EEA countries, which include Liechtenstein, Norway, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man and Andorra, don’t need to comply until later in the year, some of their operators have already done so.
This means that as long as you spend more time at home than abroad, or you use your mobile phone more at home than abroad, you can roam freely at domestic prices when travelling anywhere in the EU.
Operators can monitor and check your roaming use over a 4 month period. If, during this period, you have spent more time abroad than at home and your roaming exceeds your domestic usage, your operator may contact you and ask you to clarify your situation. You will have 14 days to respond. If you continue to spend more time abroad than you do at home and your roaming consumption continues to exceed your domestic usage your operator may start applying a surcharge. The surcharges, excluding VAT, are capped as follows:
- 3.2 euro cents per minute of voice call made
- 1 euro cent per SMS
- €7.70 per GB of data (cap in 2017)
The cap for data will progressively decrease each year as follows: €6.00 (2018), €4.50 (2019), €3.50 (2020), €3.00 (2021), €2.50 (2022). In addition, some operators have their own roaming data caps, beyond which the charge. For example, Three in the UK, charges after 12 GB of EU roaming data.