Skip to main content

Europe agrees to scrap roaming charges altogether by 2017, introduces net neutrality rules

Europe has agreed a final proposal to scrap roaming charges altogether across the continent, as well as new rules on net neutrality. The extra charges applied to your account for using your mobile phone abroad will be scrapped by June 2017, although a fair use policy will be put in place.

To help soften the blow before the charges are scrapped, said fees will be capped at five cents per MB of data, calls and two cents per SMS from April 2016. The EU has decided not to follow the US and apply stricter rules on net neutrality. Instead, the EU will allow specialized services (such as streaming for TV) so long as they do not hinder other customers using the same network.

This means telecom companies will need to treat all data being transferred across networks as equal, but there are exceptions where action can be taken. The final text will be sent to European Parliament and member states, but it's expected to be a smooth process. Overall, good news for consumers, especially regarding said roaming fees.

Source: FT

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds is Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him over on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

47 Comments
  • So data will be free to use in Europe too? I get minutes and texts for free to roam in Europe already, data is all I care about now :D
  • I think they mean that data that is currently "pay monthly fee and get X GB data per month" will not cost extra if your data plan is in roaming state :)
  • But I pay £15.90 a month and get all you can eat data... So how will I be affected by this?
  • In theory you should be able to roam with unlimited data as though you were at home - though they're may be an arbitrary cap where they may lower the speed, like 5gb for example. Many UK operators already treat your calls as though you're at home and ee allows data too (business taste costs is what I know about but I'm sure there are consumer deals also).
  • That is not how your sub works. The subscription you have at your carrier ONLY applies to when you use their network. When you are on holidays or for some other reason venture outside their network coverage, you are roaming. Roaming means you are using another carriers network and on that network, your subscription does not apply. This means that you'll have to pay for your calls, texts and data to whomever owns the network you are on. Up untill recent, roaming has been mightily expensive.
  • Did you read the article.
  • Me? What did I miss? ​
  • Well, they said that roaming expenses would be scrapped altogether what would mean that your data allowance should not differ from what you pay for on your carrier as far as I understand all this.
  • Yes that is the rule to be. From 2017 your subscription with one carrier will be uphold on any network, not just the carrier that you subscribe to.
    I was commenting on how this would effect Daniel. He seems to think that his subscription already works on any network, which it doesn't. Well I'm 99.9% sure it doesn't. Some carriers have subscriptions that allow roaming.
  • I was referring to how I'd be affected from 2017. Currently I do have access to roaming agreements in certain countries. I think Belgium is one. But what I get isn't unlimited in those countries, compared to the unlimited at home.
  • I'm assuming you are on Three? So far many countries are already free! I suspect it will now be the same for any EU country not just selected ones. Unlimited data as it says, but you may have throttled speeds if you are using too much data.
  • Good
  • You're not 1st lol haha
  • Not sure if he was even trying to be the first lol
  • Not sure if eddp77 cares :D
  • The boring, one word replies are usually trying to get to first position by replying as quickly as possible without having to think about how they can contribute to the conversation in any way
  • "The final text will be sent to European Parliament and member states, but it's expected to be a smooth process." err..... Will that be sent thru Viber or WhatsApp? :0)
  • Yay. So when I start going to Belgium to visit the other half, I'm not going to be charged on any network. But... Expect UK companies to quadruple their prices to make up for it.
  • Exactly, buy this new contract of which you have no choice to buy or not and get all of these extras free!!
  • Perhaps buy a better deal in Belgium and use it in the UK. It goes both ways.
  • Operators can limit continuous roaming to avoid that.
  • I'd be spending most of my time in the UK and therefore I'd need a British contract. Since I'd have to pay via a Belgian bank account which I won't have as a British citizen (and pointless opening a Belgian bank account just for that.
  • Payg and online payment a la Giffgaff?
  • Wow, this news is quite groundbreaking.
  • Sensible NN rules. Fundamentalists may not like them but iot applications such as automated driving could actually work in EU.
  • It's importent to know that this is about the European Union, not the whole continent. It doesn't apply to countries like Switzerland or Norway. And if GB leaves the Union they are out of this too.
  • Not necessary, Switzerland and Norway have trade agreements, though not being party of the Eurozone (money union) they are EU without immigration rights - this is sorry of the preferential agreement the UK is after, have your cake and eat out sorry of thing. I'd imagine this roaming deal will still be in play... Though the UK isn't leaving the eu any time soon lol that janus Cameron knows it's better if e stay in, even if the ignorant, iterate right wing can't get past that concept. We must all hang together or assuredly we shall all hang separately lol
  • Switzerland doesn't have the current price restrictions on SMS/calls/data that the EU imposes on its countries when roaming. I have been to Switzerland as various times with French/German/UK/Irish phones and the roaming charges in Switzerland are much higher than the charges in other EU countries. I doubt that Switzerland will decide to join in on these restrictions now
  • Wrong...
    Yes, that's true, Switzerland and Norway have lots of official (economical, political, etc) agreements with EU, but they actually AREN'T part of EU (and not all EU members are part of the Eurozone, not only UK). They are in Europe, yes, but EU=/=whole Europe (in fact, only 28 European countries are EU members) On the other hand, maybe Norway will adopt this new law, but I highly doubt Switzerland will (at least, in the near future)
  • They're not EU de juris as they do indeed enjoy treaties giving them latitude, but are akin to EU de facto in their relationship and record of course cooperation and treaty parity.
  • Swiss here. Thought so that its EU only. Oh well.
  • Well you should know your country gets to pick and choose the best of the eu! Lucky!
  • Thats super!:D
  • I believe this will apply to Norway as well. Although they have the right to veto certain laws/bills, they rarely do. Most telecom companies have already started treating neighboring Scandinavian countries as "home/semi-home" countries.
  • The last few years the industry was going this direction anyway with calls and texts. But it's nice that they are pushing for data too.
  • Great ! Now let's do the same for local charges... Prepaid cards will be a nonsense. Why should we pay 0.5€/mb with our local operator if we can pay a tenth with a foreign sim?
    (No, I'm not talking about belgian operators, not at all... Oh, wait...)
  • But what atout tetheering...? F***g providers charge 3€/day when you use it (Vodafone Italy), it s technically a robbery....
  • These charges will be scrapped :) but you may still be limited by data. If you have unlimited tethering on your contract you should be all good xD
  • P.s. Good luck until then ;)
  • In the Netherlands (also Yurp for one who doesn't know) we had full and complete net neutrality and now gets weakened by this European decision...so that's a bit of a sad thing here. On the other hand I'm happy with the removal of roaming.
    Hope it will be possible to get contracts in other countries within the EU who have better (read cheaper) conditions than there are available in own country...
  • Net neutrality is a good thing, but what the EU does aloud is not the end of it. This is more about networkpriority based on the kind of transistion not on the amound of money the net provider is beeing payed by Google or Facebook for im´proving their service. Complete net neutrality without any exeptions could even kill VoIP wich is considdered to be the future especially for LTE.
  • EU secretary of internet Gunther Oettinger was part of this negotiations, so it can't be good :S
  • good guy europe
  • Well...we're of course assuming that the European Union will still be intact in 2017 I guess? 'cause I'm not so sure about that anymore.   But if it is, then great. No more paying for the outrageous roaming fees Vodafone loves to charge.
  • Why would you say such thing? Can you please explain?
  • It's been all over the news for the past year! Both Greece and Italy want to leave the EU (and there are rumblings from Germany and France too). Greece missed their repayment deadline yesterday, so they're in deep trouble no matter what they do and may be forced out of the EU whether they like it or not. Some people are predicting the entire EU could collapse, but I doubt it would come to a total collapse as it's too important to a lot of countries. At the very least it could be downsized to shed some of the "dead weight" countries.
  • Europe > America I need to find a job overseas. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android