Goodbye to EU roaming fees: Here’s what you need to know

Goodbye to EU roaming fees: Here's what you need to know
File photo: Boggy22/Depositphotos
As of Thursday, mobile phone operators will no longer be able to charge you roaming fees when visiting other EU countries.

That means you will no longer have to worry about an unexpectedly huge phone bill after holidaying within the EU. 

Roam Like Home’, a new law passed by the EU, enables phone users to use their phone at no extra cost when they’re on holiday in Europe.

Here's the low-down on what you need to know about the changes.

What are roaming charges?

These are the often astronomical extra charges added to the phone bills of holidaymakers for making calls, sending texts and using internet mobile data when in a foreign country.

The EU has now abolished these charges, saying that customers must be charged the same for using their mobile as they would in their home country, according to their phone contract.

In other words, when you come to Italy this summer, you'll pay the same rates as you do at home. And the same applies if you live in Italy and travel within the EU. Travellers should receive a text when they arrive in the new country explaining the rules, and most mobile phone operators should inform you of the changes on Thursday.

Is it free to use my phone abroad?

No. You'll still pay the same fees as you would if you were at home, it's just the sneaky price hikes that have been banned.

Hence the name of the law: Roam like at home.

Do I have to pay to receive a call?

No, those charges have gone.

Is it free to call another country?

No. International calls are not regulated, so calling another country – even one in the EU – from home does not count as roaming.

A Venetian gondolier steers his gondola while talking on the phone. Photo: ChiccoDodiFC/Depositphotos

Does the scrapping of charges only apply to the EU?

It applies to both European Union countries and the European Economic Area countries of Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

Travellers need to be careful about using their phones in some non-EU countries like Switzerland, Andorra, and Monaco as well as the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, which are not formally part of the EU or even the European Economic Area (EEA).

Country inclusion depends on your provider, so it's best to contact them directly, and if you live in or visit Rome, make sure you're aware of how the rules apply to the Vatican City.

Is anywhere else covered?

Some providers include additional countries in their no-roaming offerings, such as tourist hotspot Turkey. But make sure you check with your mobile phone provider if you're travelling outside the EU and European Economic Area.

READ ALSO: Ten essential free phone apps for a visit to Rome



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