From 15 June, EU citizens travelling to any other EU member state will no longer incur roaming charges while making phone calls, texting or surfing online with their mobile phone or device using their home country’s SIM card. This roam like at home principle will apply to the UK while it remains an EU member.
Mobile operators have to offer their roaming services at domestic prices to consumers who either normally reside in or have stable links to the member state of the operator. There is no requirement for users to register or take any action to benefit from the roam like at home mechanism. From 15 June 2017, it should be included by default in all customers’ mobile contracts on which operators offer roaming.
On average UK residents who travel spend 15.6 days in another EU country. They make an average of 4.8 minutes of calls, send an average of 3.7 texts and use 65.7 Mb data per day. The end of the roaming charges is estimated to bring them a saving of nearly 200 pounds per year *
The European Commission has worked to reduce consumers’ roaming fees since 2007
During this regulated period, the caps on roaming slashed the prices for calls and text message by 92% and for data by 96%. This has changed the habits of many Europeans who previously used to switch their mobile phones off while travelling. In seven years – between 2008 and 2015 – the volumes of data used while abroad have grown exponentially. In 2013 the European Commission proposed legislation to end roaming charges for people travelling in the EU for short periods such as holidays. In October 2015 the European Parliament and the Council agreed that this should be in place as of 15 June 2017.
Together with other initiatives in the Digital Single Market strategy roam like at home aims to ensure that Europeans can make the most of digital services, thus driving the EU’s digital economy. In May, the Commission identified additional areas where challenges need to be addressed for this digital economy to reach its full potential.
How the roam like at home mechanism will work in practice