Brussels, 25 June 2007
Using your mobile phone abroad will become substantially cheaper this summer thanks to the EU's intervention. With the publication of the EU Roaming Regulation in the EU's Official Journal at the end of this week, this important piece of internal market legislation will become binding law in all 27 Member States on 30 June. This finally ends in record time the legislative process, started on 12 July 2006 by the European Commission, to curb the excessive roaming charges that consumers and business travellers have so far endured while abroad in other EU countries. The national regulatory authorities, together with the Commission, will closely monitor the transition to the new roaming rules to ensure no abuses take place.
“At last Europeans can breathe a sigh of relief as the EU Roaming Regulation finally becomes binding law across all Member States. We hope we've now seen the last of excessive roaming charges. I note with satisfaction that some operators are offering the new Eurotariff already as of 1 July," said EU Telecom Commissioner Viviane Reding. "The Commission will, however, continue to monitor prices, in particular for SMS and data roaming, to make sure consumers do not suffer in other ways and to ensure after three years there is no longer a need to regulate. I hope that operators now understand the EU's ability to act. My message to them: Move now and bring SMS and data roaming charges down quickly, or we will be forced to also intervene there very shortly."
The Commission proposed on 12 July 2006 an EU Regulation on roaming on public mobile networks within the Community, to reduce roaming charges by up to 70% (see IP/06/978). Following one of the fastest ever political agreements between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission, the EU Roaming Regulation was finally approved, only 11 months later, on 7 June (see IP/07/696 and MEMO/07/233).
The EU Regulation will, as of this summer, enable consumers to benefit from a ‘Eurotariff’ that sets a maximum limit for calls made (€0.49 excl. VAT) and received (€0.24 excl. VAT) when abroad. Operators are expected to compete below this consumer cap. The price caps will be further reduced in 2008 and 2009.
As a result:
The EU Roaming Regulation, welcomed by citizens (see IP/06/1515), also forces operators to keep all customers informed about roaming prices. These transparency obligations will also allow consumers to identify easily the best roaming deals available and also know the prices they have to pay when it matters most, i.e. while they are roaming.
There will also be wholesale caps for the prices that operators charge each other for roaming which will apply two months after today's publication. For the next 12 months the wholesale cap is set at €0.30.
The publication in the EU's Official Journal on 29 June 2007 means that the EU Roaming Regulation will become law on 30 June in all 27 EU Member States. The Regulation will be applicable for three years. During this period the Commission, together with national regulators, will monitor the Regulation's implementation closely. The Commission will assess the regulation within 18 months to determine whether or not to prolong the regulation and whether it needs to intervene again to also include SMS and data roaming.
The European Commission’s roaming website (IP/05/901), which includes samples of roaming tariffs per country and further information on roaming is available at:
See also MEMO/07/251