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Updated : 13/06/2017

Telecommunication services

Wherever you are in the EU you must have access to affordable quality telecommunication services– including a connection for a telephone line and functional internet access at a fixed location.

There should be at least one telecoms provider who can provide this service for you. This is known as the "universal service" principle.  

In some specific cases, such as issues with the technical feasibility of a request, your request might not be considered "reasonable" and could be refused.

Your national regulatory authority can put you in touch with the universal service provider in your country.

Sample story

Eleni, from Greece, recently moved from Athens to the countryside and wanted to get a telephone connection in her new house. After trying several companies, who told her that they didn't have a network in her area, she contacted the Greek national regulatory authority. They told her who the universal service provider was, and she was able to get her telephone connection.

Subscriptions with telecoms providers

Your telecoms provider must:

  • give you a written contract, with information on rates and charges
  • specify the minimum service quality levels
  • give you detailed information on the duration of the contract and the conditions for its renewal

After signing a contract with a telecoms provider, you have the right to:

  • end your contract if the provider changes the terms and conditions of the original contract
  • change telecoms provider (mobile or fixed line) without changing your phone number within  one working day

You should always be able to call the toll free EU wide emergency number 112 – from any telephone. This includes calls from public payphones and mobile phones.

Sample story

Maxime from Belgium received a letter from his mobile telecoms provider with his monthly telephone bill. The letter stated that they were reducing the number of free SMSs in his package. The provider offered him a different, more expensive, package which included unlimited SMSs.

Maxime contacted his telecoms operator and cancelled his contract. He decided to take out a contract with a different provider and was able to keep his mobile number when he made the switch.

Remember that you have the right to end your contract if your provider changes the terms of your original contract. If you switch to another provider you also have the right to keep your telephone number.

Assistance for disabled users

If you're a disabled user, you should have access to the same telecommunications services as the majority of consumers.

You may also be eligible for special tools or services from your service provider that enable you to use telephone networks – for example access to live text-to-speech translation services, or the possibility to receive your telephone bill in an alternative format, such as braille.

Your national regulatory authority should be able to give you more information about these rights.

Using your mobile phone abroad - roaming

EU "roam like at home" rules mean that when you use your mobile phone while travelling outside your home country in any EU country you don't have to pay any additional roaming charges. You benefit from these rules when calling (to mobile and fixed phones), sending text messages (SMS) and using data services while abroad.

Find out more about mobile roaming.

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