The new EU roaming rules: an overview (Updated with actual law)

 Last week, the European Parliament voted for new price reductions for roaming in the European Union. This was a big success for our campaign and will make using your mobile phone abroad a lot more affordable over the next two years.

If you are wondering what exactly the new rules mean for you, here is an overview over the most important changes (please note that prices don’t include VAT yet):

  • Starting in July 2012, making calls will cost no more than 0,29 €/min. Until 2014, this will go down to 0,19 €/min.
  • Receiving calls and sending SMS will cost 0,09 €/min from July 2012 and 0,06 €/min from July 2014.
  • Internet usage will become cheaper for the first time in July 2012 and cost 0,70 €/MB. Until 2014, prices will go down to no more than 0,20 €/MB.
  • From 2014 on, you will be enabled to choose another, cheaper operator when abroad – without having to change your phone number!
  • When outside of the EU, you will be warned if your bill approaches 50€ of data usage.
  • Operators will not be allowed to block traffic and apps like Skype or Messengers.

A word of caution

While this is quite  a lot already, we had hoped for a bit more – especially for lower prices. Until 2014, you will still have to limit your mobile phone use when abroad, especially for internet access! Normal internet access can still cost you a few hundred Euro, even with the new regulation. Also, note that the prices mentioned above do not include VAT, so the actual prices will end up to be somewhat higher. Prices are really expected to drop in 2014, when you will be allowed to choose another operator when abroad because this will create a competitive market for roaming services.

Update: You can find a nice overview over the measures on the website of the Portuguese telecom regulator ANACOM.

Update 2: You can now download the new EU roaming regulation in the original text on the Eur-Lex website. (Thanks Ralf Grahn for the hint!)

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