Documenting life in 2010. Photo: Garry Knight

Mobile phone roaming charges abolished by EU

Unexpected charges on your mobile phone bill have long been a problem for people holidaying across Europe, and in some places for those who live close to another country. But today, finally, the European Parliament voted to abolish these roaming charges.

© European Union 2011 PE-EP/Pietro Naj-Oleari
© European Union 2011 PE-EP/Pietro Naj-Oleari

The complete ban on roaming charges for using mobile phones abroad in the EU (and in EEA countries) will take effect in June 2017 and clear rules on the right to internet access will become law following the European Parliament’s final approval of the new telecoms package earlier today.

Unfortunately for customers, the ban does not come into force immediately. Indeed, it would be well-nigh impossible to do so, but there will be an interim stage from 30 April 2016. At that point telecoms operators will be able to add a surcharge of no more than:

  • €0.05 (3.5p) extra per minute for calls
  • €0.02 extra per SMS sent
  • €0.05 extra per megabyte of data used

“This abolition of roaming surcharges has been long-awaited by everybody: ordinary people, start-ups, SMEs and all kinds of organisations”

said the rapporteur, Pilar del Castillo (EPP, ES), in the debate before the vote.

“Thanks to this agreement, Europe will also become the only region in world which legally guarantees open internet and net neutrality. The principle of net neutrality will be applied directly in the 28 member states. It also ensures that we will not have a two-speed internet.”

Further information from:

European Parliament


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