EU roaming charges will be a thing of the past from next year

By James Richardson on 15 Jun 2013 08:45 am EDT

We all know that roaming outside of our native country can be stupidly expensive, especially when it comes to using data. Luckily, after a long process the European Union has made the decision that from July 1st 2014 there will be no additional costs - praise the lord!

So for us BlackBerry users that fall within the EU - going on holiday within the countries that fall into the EU will not include the extra stress of having a huge mobile bill when we return, following a ruling by the European Commission. The Telegraph reports that the move is intended to encourage a consolidation of Europe's 100+ network operators in favor of fewer, stronger carriers while increasing competition. With roaming fees out of the way, it'd be easier for existing networks to compete and collaborate across borders -- a process which might lead to more mergers between continental operators.

Unfortunately the changes will not effect any BlackBerry users from outside the EU so you are still going to get massive roaming bills, but for us guys inside the EU this is a huge step in the right direction and one that has finally been resolved after many years on the cards.

Source: The Telegraph

Topics: Carriers

Reader comments

EU roaming charges will be a thing of the past from next year


Love all those pics with the Q10 in them, they're my daily fix until the stock arrives in Australia. LOL

from an australian Z10...

At least should I can get & use local EU countries prepaid SIM, I can roam cheap & easily across Europe.

I'm just a man of few words & lots of works

Truly magnificent news. What would be even better would be to be able to text and call other EU countries and have it included in my inclusive minutes and texts for my contract.

Posted via CB10

Ya that would be great until the company that supplies the service goes belly up or starts charging you ridiculous amounts for plans that include features/functions, they previously would have billed you separate for.

I'm glad to see roaming fees go but I there is no way carriers will ever start to lose other revenue streams like texting or voice calling LD.

Posted via CB10 using a Z10

Sounds like you are headed into Canadian Oligopoly territory before long.. good luck with that ;)

From the ZED via CB10.. booyah!

The terms "fewer providers" and "increased competition" are mutually exclusive. While I will state that "100+" carriers is WAY too many in any single market (like the EU) as it forces most into a state of limited subsistence and limited technical advancement, the polar opposite is a small-number oligopoly.

"Here" in Canada, we have only 3 huge, mostly-national carriers plus 1-2 small market, regional service providers, and we are the most gouged and screwed-over consumers in the OECD.
Never mind the roaming charges; we get bent-over the park bench and raped on our monthly/daily service rates and contract terms.
So, "be careful," EU is my only advice; there's a golden median somewhere that offers the perfect balance between "providers" and "competition" and "pricing." The trick is in finding it.

Cheers & Keep Moving!

I'm not crazy thrilled about what I pay either, but I've heard this argument before about what we pay in Canada.

You simply can't compare since our population density is so tiny compared to the numbers anywhere in Europe. We have to cover vastly greater areas with much fewer subscribers.

I am NOT a wireless phone company apologist. I'm merely pointing out that Canada is quite unique in the world in this respect. Also glad the CRTC did something about contract terms.

Posted via CB10

I guess the money Rogers saved by not serving the outlying thinly populated areas is what allowed them to indulge in buying The Toronto Blue Jays, Rogers Centre and Rogers Arena.

It's the same way in the US, even worse almost. Verizon and AT&T have such a large subscriber lead it's hard for anyone else to compete. And now they are launching their own PAYG sub brands, which could kill companies like T-Mobile.

Posted via CB10

In order to make you feel better: I pay for 1Mb data roaming 8 bucks... 1min talking 1.70... if someone talks on your voicebox, you pay the minutes the triple way... once speaking, once transmitting and once more if you're out of your mind and listen the message... and i have a contract for 35 a month, not prepaid... Welcome to switzerland, that lil' tiny island ind the middle of europe...

Posted via CB10

Finally - about time. Germany and France (t mobile and orange respectively) pretty much have Europe sown up; most regional smaller cellular providers ride their infrastructure and lease band width. It does seem nuts that going across the channel from Dover I'm o2 one side, France side I'm on a sister company and I'm gouged. They capped roaming charges - I think this is better. It's a joke that we had to pay for so long and I'm glad the EU has sorted this mess out.

As for fewer companies and competition - it seems odd but then look at o2: o2, giffgaff, lebara, tesco and others share the Telefonica (Spanish network) services - so ONE company and many providers (and many more in ALL the EU countries).

No reason to have roaming charges and I'm sure some of the smaller providers can go from licensing the bandwidth and network to being part owned AND still provide cost beneficial services. Look to Giffgaff (in UK) - they undercut o2 so badly it's farcical - downside is that there's no subsidised handset.

There's a lot of discussion to be had, and opinions on both sides. Either way, the EU is PRO consumer (as bourne out by Apple having to implement a standard 2 year across the EU - they'll get everywhere eventually) and that is simply good for us!

Sorry for the protracted and rambling post :-)

Posted via CB10 on my BlackBerry Q10

With all the hate towards the EU, it's nice to see they can also do some things right. Even if it takes forever to make the decision and implement it.

For me this is at least great news as I regularly use data when abroad and am too lazy to buy specific SIMS.

Posted via CB10

Glad to hear. No more paying extra going from Telekom Germany to Telekom Austria to TCOM CZ, etc.

Posted via CB10

Here in the US we have unlimited talk text data from most national carriers. You can also set a warning from data roaming should it occur. I am Bulgarian and we have 3 horrible operators there. It costs 15+ euro cent to talk to another operator. So people usually carry 2 phones to mix and match. SMS are 17+ euro cent as well. No such thing as unlimited data. And good luck with roaming. Also, all the GSMs are way overpriced. They use the Euro prices, so you can't have a phone that costs 3 times the average monthly salary. Even in the richer parts of the EU... 1 to 1 Euro to USD for the cost is stupid since the Euro is 1.33 USD now.

I think USA is still way ahead in terms of data and carrier plans.

I don't know why everyone is so happy. These rules will make smaller companies go bankrupt or acquired by bigger ones as they won't be able to cope with dropped revenues. That means less telecom companies, that means oligopolies, that means increase in service cost for users.

People, it's economy 101. Try to finally get it.

Posted via CB10

Another person in here who understands what this is all about. They should try dealing with the 4 carriers who've been allowed to survive in the US and their incredibly inflated prices.

Posted via CB10

Your absolutely right! All those wholesale revenue will dissapear and guess what no money left for further network expansions.

I'm hopeful the EU caps will remain so that there are less chances for the companies to price fix. Of course, living in the UK, the govt will be slow on that so yes, price fixing is possible. Hopefully ofcom will act fast to prevent any mess...

Posted via CB10 on my BlackBerry Q10

I think eventually world wide roaming will go by the way side BUT I can't see it happening anytime soon. I think over time this will happen as one world travel and mobile use gets unified and removing roaming for those in EU IS IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION!

Posted via CB10

Of course, what with what has been doing the rounds in the news these last two weeks - this could all be part of a grand conspiracy...

Just thought I'd add that - gonna go stick my head back in the sand now lol

Posted via CB10 on my BlackBerry Q10

If I were a US carrier I would capitalize on this by partnering up with some EU carriers to offer sim cards here. That way both sides would get a share of the profits. Verizon is already part owned by Vodafone, so that would be easy as pie. You can get your sim card from your current carrier with a special rate, therefore making it illogical to buy a phone or sim at your destination.

Posted via CB10

Shoot, just when I am moving to Switzerland. It probably won't be included.

Posted on CB 10, browsing on my Z10 and typing on my Q10

So smaller carriers (that's small, as in not big) somehow persuade the big guys to hold down prices? Hmmm. If the small guys' strategy was any good, they'd become big.

Having seen my work BB bills when I travel in Europe and leave data on, I say well done EU

Posted via CB10

EU Civilization at its best.
The new world going backwards.
gov spies on own citizens, state police,
big brother, excessive roaming charges......

Does anyone else expect this to backfire like the previous EC attempts to regulate telecoms? I anticipate several likely responses from the carriers, pick any combination of:

Flat rate pricing will produce higher home rates instead of reduced roaming rates, exactly as they did with previous roaming cap rates. All the carriers abolished lower rates and charged all roaming at maximum capped rate. (My roaming rates more than doubled overnight).

Two tier accounts, lower call charge flat rate, home service only. International roaming only available on plans with higher monthly charge and/or more expensive per-minute scale.

This proposes "consumer" legislation and it will not apply to accounts deemed as "business"

Special "roaming package" rates which have a fixed cost equal to maximum permitted rate - if anyone can use exactly the package allowance. e.g.  O2 currently charges each voice call at fixed cost for up to 60 minutes duration then as overage at home plan rate. Most calls only last a few minutes so the true cost/minute is way higher.

Out-of-Europe roaming rates will remain obscenely expensive, both for roaming calls out to non-EC country, and service while roaming outside EC. Non-EC users roaming into Europe will get hit particularly hard.


I agree with you completely. The operators will increase home rates to maintain (and possibly increase) their revenue stream (same as they did when Ofcom set limits on the wholesale termination charges). Look at what happened when our friends at the EU stopped insurance companies being allowed to take gender into account when calculating car insurance premiums (they thought it was unfair that young male drivers were being charged more than young female drivers despite them having a much worse accident record). Result was a small decrease in premiums for young males and a massive hike in the premiums for young females.

As I'll be enjoying my precious holidays in Scotland this year, and don't want to be off the grid for 3 weeks can any one recommend a good pay as you go provider up there? Also: can I just switch the SIM cards in my Blackberry Q10 (I do have the SIM free version) and still be using it in my normal way or will I have to do a complete set up again?

This is amazing news. Despite not being from the EU I still think this is a huge step in the right direction. At the same time, I do hope you don't end up like canada with 3 gigantic carriers that all suck

How is this good news? This is actually very bad.This idea will result in bankruptcy of some telcos and in case they don't go bankrupt they will cease further investments and expansion on their network because they build their network for the ones who pay the subscriptions and not for the ones sitting on their network for free.

This is fantastic news! I thought it was ridiculous when I had to take care of business and go on holiday in Italy to see roaming charges on my EU purchased SIM from Hungary.

Posted via CB10

Interesting - will be carriers creating data packages for in-country use? ;)

Posted via CB10 from Dev Alpha C

Meh still have to wait a year but it was always stupid to begin with.We was using the same network just in a different country.

Not only for people who live in EU, but for tourist like me will get the benefit when I visit there. I remember I used to always buy new local cards because my Dutch card will charge expensive roaming fee when I went to Italy and Spain, it was even troublesome for me in France because I needed to apply for postpaid for me to get the BIS works with a local card when I only stayed there for few days. Now all of that will be history soon :) *from Indonesia

Posted via CB10

If you're going to several EU countries at once, international roaming sim cards can be the best solution. I used travelsim myself when i was travelling around the Europe. Not sure if that's the best one - but prices were quite okay for the roaming, incoming calls were free.