EU vows to end the scourge of roaming charges by 2017

22 Sep 20166 Shares

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It has been a long road with many a turn but the EU is steadfast in its commitment to kill off mobile roaming charges. Image: mimagephotography/Shutterstock

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The European Commission is drafting new rules to make roaming an unlimited experience across Europe by June 2017.

The original proposal was to allow consumers to roam for up to 90 days and for a maximum of 30 consecutive days.

‘Together we need to ensure low prices for users all across Europe, to make full use of new mobile services. European consumers would not accept it otherwise’
– ANDRUS ANSIP

Now, the commission wants to completely scrap time limits on charge-free mobile roaming.

The move comes in the wake of commission president Jean-Claude Juncker ordering the original proposal to make good on the pledge to end roaming charges, which has been a moving target since the early 2000s.

No limits on roaming in Europe

The EU is proposing a fair use principle whereby there should be no limits in terms of timing or volume imposed on consumers when using their mobile devices abroad in the EU.

This new mechanism will be based on the principle of residence or stable links European consumers may have with any EU member state.

“[The European] Parliament and [European] Council agreed on our proposal to end roaming charges for travellers in the EU,” said Andrus Ansip, vice-president for the Digital Single Market.

“Together we need to ensure low prices for users all across Europe, to make full use of new mobile services. European consumers would not accept it otherwise.”

The College of European Commissioners yesterday discussed draft rules that will enable all travellers using a SIM card of a member state in which they reside, or with which they have stable links, to use their mobile device in any other EU country, just as they would at home.

“Commission action on roaming prices has delivered for European consumers. Today’s draft rules ensure we can end roaming charges as of 15 June 2017 for all people who travel periodically in the EU, while ensuring that operators have the tools to guard against abuse of the rules,” said Günther Oettinger, commissioner for the digital economy and society.

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Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com