End of Roaming in the European Union: What is Free, what is Not ?

End of mobile roaming charges in the European Union

TELECOMS: Note, there are still some charges and fees …

The summer holiday is here, and you’ve decided to go to Greece. After landing in Athens, you turn on your laptop and you check your mails via 4G, before looking for a place for dinner.

Previously, these uses of your smartphone could have explode your bill to return. But since Thursday, this little problem is (usually) behind you. The European Union has set up the end of the roaming charges – or “roaming” – which gave cold sweats holidaymakers abroad.

Now, “the general rule is that you can use its foreign package [in the EU] under the same conditions as in France,” explains Antoine Autier, deputy head of the department Studies at UFC- What to choose. But of course, there is always exceptions, and chb44 is here to save you a nasty surprise.

What becomes free

If you have an unlimited calling plan and SMS in France, that’s the good news: you will not have any extra cost to pay for these uses your mobile in Germany, Spain or in any Member State. According to the European Commission, the French will save on average 100 euros a year thanks to the new regulations.

This simplification has taken 8 years in total. Why such a long negotiation period? Many connoisseurs of the file explained that negotiations with the telecom operators have been tightened: in 2012, roaming charges represented indeed a windfall of 4.7 billion euros , which is gradually reduced.

What remains paying

Warning, there are limits to this end roaming. One is obvious: a limited package (call, voice, mobile internet) in France will be limited abroad. If exceeded, the operator will be entitled to charge an additional benefit. “The off foreign package is capped in the EU” still says Antoine Autier.

Mobile data. This limit is less known: if you have an Internet package “Unlimited” in France, you will not necessarily consume many gigabytes (GB) you want when you cross borders. Consumption (free) mobile data will depend on the price of your package.

For example, a flat rate to 42 euros per month will allow you to consume about 9 GB of monthly internet abroad. However, if you have an offer “low cost”, with a flat rate to 19 euros per month, you can eat “only” about 6.5 GB.

These consumption levels are a floor: “The operators can not offer less than GB, but they have the right to allow higher consumption,” says Antoine Autier. So be careful about the conditions of your subscription.

International calls . If you call a number Italian, Belgian or English from France, charges can still be charged. MEPs have well address the problem. “Ultimately, we want all international costs within the EU disappear, says Emmanuel Foulon, spokesman of the Belgian Socialists in the European Parliament. But it was necessary that starts somewhere, and the end of the roaming is a strong signal that opens other doors. ”

The “abusive” use. If a French resident over 4 consecutive months in another EU country while using his French package, its operator may charge for additional charges. Erasmus students and French living abroad will have to continue to take a local subscription. However, frontier workers will not be penalized.

The false “friendly countries.” Beware if you leave Switzerland, Andorra or Montenegro. These countries are not members of the EU and are therefore not subject to the end of roaming. Each operator is therefore free to practice the rates it wants, although competition rather pushes prices down. In contrast, the United Kingdom, despite the procedure Brexit, is still in the EU and has (for now) of the disappearance of roaming charges.

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