Roaming charges for phone calls from or to abroad could not play a role within the EU in the coming years, at least that is what the EU Parliament has now advocated. The current regulation, which actually expires in June 2022, could thus be extended by ten years.
EU Parliament votes to abolish roaming charges
Already in December 2021, the EU states and the European Council agreed on an extension of the elimination of roaming charges, and now the European Parliament has also given the green light. Actually, the regulation would have expired in June 2022, which allowed smartphone users to continue to make calls, surf the Internet or send text messages while traveling at the rates valid from within the country.
581 votes were cast in the EU Parliament in favor of an extension, only two MEPs voted against, while five abstained. If the Council of Europe now approves the parliament’s result, there will be nothing standing in the way of an extension for another ten years.
Also quality and speed at domestic level
At the same time, the EU Parliament also agreed that the quality and speed of the connection when using roaming should continue at the level of one’s domestic contract. At least if network expansion and quality of the visited country would allow this.
Together with the EU Council, the company said it had pushed through a provision that would prohibit mobile operators from restricting the use of roaming by reducing bandwidth and speed – for example, by switching from the 4G to the 3G network.
There will also be free access to emergency service numbers for travelers and people with disabilities, whether they are contacted by phone or text. This will include information about the caller’s local position, which will make it easier to locate them in an emergency.
The so-called intra-EU calls were also dealt with, with the end of an additional charge for these calls (as an example, calls from Belgium to Italy). Currently, intra-EU calls are capped at 19 cents per minute. The European Commission is now to examine whether this cap can be reduced further. The reason: “Customers are still confused about the differences between roaming and intra-EU calls”.
Providers’ charges when their customers use other networks are also to be capped at two euros per gigabyte of data, gradually falling to one euro by 2027. If customers exceed their contractual limit when roaming, additional charges may not exceed the limits that also apply wholesale.