European Union laws abolishing roaming charges for calls, texts, and data used within the bloc have come into force today.
This means that calls and texts to the UK from UK callers in another member of the European Union will no longer need to pay extra than their current contracts and tariffs. They will also be able to use their data as they would at home.
In a move which has taken the better half of a decade to be enshrined into law and come into force, the European Commission hailed the abolition of roaming charges as “one of the greatest and most tangible successes of the EU.”
“Each time a European citizen crossed an EU border, be it for holidays, work, studies or just for a day, they had to worry about using their mobile phones and a high phone bill from the roaming charges when they came home.”
The Commission has worked hard over the last decade to fix this “market failure”, it said.
Roam like at home; not roaming from home
Everyone should note that the regulation only applies to travellers. Therefore they cannot start calling others in the European Union from the UK without incurring extra fees.
Also it applies directly to those who are travelling, so the traveller is the one exempt from fees.
So long as this is used correctly then, for example forward planning that the traveller make contact with those back in the UK rather than the opposite, then this can still create great savings when people travel. Which is particularly good for families and businesses alike.
Is your phone contract covered?
There are a number of exemptions in countries during the initial stages of the regulation, in Poland for example. In the UK, most operators have been offering packages with EU-roaming included and with roaming disabled to get around the new restrictions.
Therefore users should read up on their phone contracts to ensure that they are covered.
Does Brexit simply put roaming charges on hold?
This will be a decision for the British government to make during Brexit negotiations with the European Union. As this is a European regulation, not a European directive, the UK has not had to sign up to it and therefore it is not enshrined into UK law.
It is, instead, part of the rules that makes up the Single Market. As such, if the UK now looks to join the Single Market, or have a large-scale free-trade agreement, it is highly likely its mobile phone companies will need to sign up to it.
In any case, the major phone companies have been selling EU-roaming add-ons as part of their mobile phone contracts for a number of years in preparation to this coming into effect. Therefore the likelihood that this would be a sticking point is not high.
Find out more about how we look to offer your business more through our commercial law services by clicking here.