EU Roaming Rules Extended until 2032

World » EU | June 30, 2022, Thursday // 17:13
Bulgaria: EU Roaming Rules Extended until 2032

Tomorrow, 1 July 2022, the new improved regulation on roaming in the European Union enters into force. It extends to 2032 "roam like at home" - a scheme that allows travelers in the European Union and the European Economic Area to make phone calls, send text messages and use the internet abroad at no extra charge.

The new rules will also bring significant benefits to EU businesses and citizens, who will benefit from better roaming conditions, providing the same quality of mobile services abroad as at home. Access to emergency calls throughout the EU will also be improved and clear information will be provided on services that may be subject to additional charges.

Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice President for Digital Europe for the Digital Age, said:

"Through the Roaming at Home scheme, the Roaming Regulation has benefited us all. We can make telephone calls, send text messages and use the Internet at no extra cost when traveling in the EU. This is a particularly tangible advantage in our European single market. The extension of these rules will maintain competitive prices between operators and allow consumers to continue to use free roaming services for the next ten years."

Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton emphasized:

"Do you remember the time when we had to turn off mobile data when traveling in Europe to protect ourselves from serious roaming bills? This is already past. And we intend to maintain this situation for the next 10 years. Better speed, more transparency: we continue to improve the lives of EU citizens."

Higher mobile internet speed while traveling

Under the new rules, consumers will be entitled to the same quality of mobile internet abroad as they receive at home. Operators providing mobile services should ensure that users have access to 4G networks or to more advanced 5G networks, if such are available in the destination visited by users. Users should be able to find network availability information in their mobile service contracts and on operators' websites.

Prevent unexpected hidden fees

When consumers travel by plane or ship, mobile phones can automatically connect to the on-board network provided by satellites. The use of mobile services provided by non-terrestrial networks may involve very high additional charges. The new roaming rules oblige operators to protect their users and notify them if their phones connect to non-terrestrial networks. In addition, operators should automatically interrupt mobile services when charges for mobile services over non-terrestrial networks reach EUR 50 or another pre-determined limit. Operators may offer additional services, such as the option to opt out of roaming on aircraft and ships.

More information for a better choice

Consumers should be able to make informed decisions about the use of services, which can lead to additional costs. When traveling abroad, calls to customer service numbers, insurance and airline services, and sending text messages to participate in contests or events can be more expensive than at home. Operators must ensure that they provide consumers with information on the types of telephone numbers that may lead to additional costs when consumers dial or access such numbers from abroad. Operators should inform consumers through automatic SMS messages sent when crossing the border to another EU country, as well as in service contracts.

112 - Emergency calls while traveling

The new roaming rules ensure that citizens know the EU's single emergency number 112, which they can use anywhere in the EU to contact emergency services. By June 2023, all operators should send automatic messages to their customers traveling abroad to inform them of available alternative means of contacting emergency services, for example via text or real-time applications. Citizens who are unable to make voice calls can use these alternative means.

Lower prices between operators, better conditions for consumers

The new roaming regulation sets lower wholesale prices and therefore costs for operators using networks abroad to provide services to their customers traveling abroad. Wholesale price caps are set at levels that ensure that operators can bear and reimburse the cost of providing roaming services to consumers at internal market prices.

The new regulation sets the following wholesale wholesale prices:

  • For data services: € 2 / GB in 2022, € 1.8 / GB in 2023, € 1.55 / GB in 2024, € 1.3 / GB in 2025, 1 , 1 € / GB in 2026 and 1 € / GB from 2027 onwards.
  • For voice calls: 0.022 € / min in the period 2022-2024 and 0.019 € / min from 2025 onwards.
  • For SMS: 0.004 € / SMS in the period 2022-2024 and 0.003 € / SMS from 2025 onwards.

Lower wholesale prices are good for consumers, as they should ensure that all operators are able to offer competitive roaming subscriptions in accordance with the principle “roam like at home”.

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