Fixed line telephone services
Affected by Brexit?
Getting a fixed phone line
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" provision.
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.
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.
Contracts 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.
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.
Calling another EU country from home
EU rules limit the amount you can be charged when you call or send an SMS to another EU country from home. You can only be charged a maximum of €0.19 (+ VAT) a minute for calls to another EU country, and a maximum of €0.06 (+ VAT) per SMS sent to another country.
These maximum call charges apply to calls you make from either your landline or your mobile phone in your home country, to a landline or mobile phone in another EU country.
Using your mobile phone abroad - roaming
When you use your mobile phone while travelling outside your home country in another EU country you don't have to pay any additional roaming charges.
This means that when you call (mobile and fixed phones) or send a text messages (SMS):
- within the country you're visiting
- to your home country
- to another EU country
you'll pay the same as you would for a call or SMS within your home country. For data services, you pay the same rates as you would in your home country.
Find out more about mobile roaming.