No more throttling: free EU roaming is extended and improved

No more throttling: free EU roaming is extended and improved

Good news for all those who want to spend their summer holidays abroad in the EU: the EU will extend the “Roaming at domestic prices” scheme for another ten years. […]

According to the new rules, which the EU Parliament adopted by a large majority on March 24, smartphone users will continue to be able to make calls, write SMS and use mobile data in other EU countries at no additional cost. In addition, you are entitled to the same quality and speed of the mobile connection abroad as in the country – if the network of the visited country allows this. Practices that reduce the quality of roaming services, such as switching the connection from 4G to 3G, are therefore expressly no longer allowed, the EU Parliament announced.

The new rules also provide that travelers and people with disabilities have access to emergency services without additional fees – be it by phone call or SMS. The network operators must not only provide information on the European emergency number 112, but also provide the information on the location of the caller.

Wholesale roaming charges – the wholesale price that mobile operators charge each other when their customers use other networks – will be capped at two euros per gigabyte from 2022 and gradually reduced to 1 euro in 2027. Important in this context for holidaymakers (and business travellers) who are too generous with their data flat rate in other EU countries: if the contractually defined limits are exceeded, the additional fees may not be higher than the upper limits for wholesale roaming fees.

No decision has been reached – for the time being – on a proposal by MEPs to allow surcharges for calls within the EU to be dropped altogether. Currently, the cost of such calls is capped at 19 cents per minute. However, the EU Commission wants to examine this proposal and assess whether a further reduction of this ceiling is necessary, it said.

The new regulation extends the suspension of roaming surcharges, which was decided for five years in 2017 and was due to expire on 30 June this year, for a further ten years. In order to enter into force, the law still needs to be approved by the Council, which is supposed to be a mere formality.

*Manfred Bremmer deals with (almost) everything that falls into the fields of mobile computing and communications. He prefers to take a close look at mobile solutions, operating systems, apps and devices and checks them for their business suitability. Bremmer is interested in gadgets of all kinds and also tests them.

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