EU drops roaming charges for calls within its borders

Published:  28 Jun at 6 PM
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Tagged: USA, UK, Citizenship, Euro, England
Citizens of all EU member states can now make calls to persons and businesses across the EU without incurring roaming charges.

Since 2007, the European Union has acted as a regulator for roaming charges in order to ensure phone companies’ fees aren’t extortionate. Since that date, the number of calls made using mobile phones in EU countries has increased drastically, with businesses, expats and holidaymakers sure to welcome the EU’s decision to allow phone usage including texting and data transfer across the EU free of roaming charges.

Every EU citizen with a European phone number can now call, text or transfer data at no extra charge wherever they are based within the Union. It’s good news for most EU citizens and even better news for expats using mobile technology to regularly keep in touch with family and friends back home, but it’s worth checking the changes as some might cause problems.

Basically, free roaming is confined to the 28 member states of the European Union, including the UK until the Brexit divorce is finalised in 2019. As some phone contracts include several non-EU countries, it’s worthwhile to check and take care when dialling. Importantly, there’s a four-month limit for overseas usage without extra charges, and the same law states extra fees may be levied if your phone is used overseas more than it would be in your home country.

Expats are advised to check their contracts to avoid disappointment, as some which guarantee unlimited roaming for a specified time may now decide to limit usage. The reason behind this is to discourage users from purchasing contracts in less expensive countries and using them mostly in states where contracts cost more. You may also find legal limits still apply to so-called unlimited bundles in Europe, with crossing borders meaning there’s a restriction on the number of gigabytes per month.

For those playing regular video games on their phones, the limit can easily be exceeded, leading to extra, high charges. It’s not clear right now how phone companies intend to replace the lost revenue caused by the EU’s ruling, but it’s quite possible tariffs will be increased as a result.
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