The European Union has put forward a proposal to extend by 10 years the law requiring telecoms providers to offer free roaming within the EU. The original law expires in 2022.
In addition to extending the legislation, the EU wants to add some additional guarantees to the legislation. One example is the guarantee that users can expect a similar service in all countries, provided it is available. If you have a subscription with 4G in your home country, telecom providers cannot artificially lower it to 3G in another country.
Improved accessibility of emergency services
Some improvements are also being applied so that emergency services can do their work better. Location transmission of callers to emergency services must continue to work without problems and free of charge when abroad. Travellers must be informed about the possibilities of reaching emergency services abroad. Such information is also needed about possible extra charges when calling service numbers such as helpdesks.
Fair use policy
The new regulations follow an assessment of the results of the current legislation. Initially, people feared that the rules would be abused by people buying cheaper subscriptions abroad and using them elsewhere. In practice, however, this does not appear to be the case, probably due in large part to the fair use policies that have been put in place for this purpose.
European Commissioner Margrethe Vestager supports the legislation. “Wherever we are in Europe, we can check in with our loved ones, talk business and share stories while on the road without worrying about costly bills. The end of roaming charges is a prime example of how the EU keeps millions of citizens connected and improves their lives. The new rules will keep roaming at no extra charges and make it even better.”
Free roaming since 2017
Talks about reducing and even eliminating roaming charges within the European Union have been going on for many years. After many negotiations, it was finally decided that on 15 June 2017, roaming charges within the EU would be abolished. There were still certain tariffs for receiving calls abroad, but these too have been phased out over the years. Some countries outside the European Union, such as Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland, also participate in the alliance. Since Brexit, telecoms providers are no longer obliged to follow the policy in Britain, although most have promised to do so for the time being. How long this will remain the case is uncertain.
If the law is renewed for ten years in 2022, free roaming will remain assured at least until 2032.