EU improves mobile roaming rules for consumers

Mobile service providers must remove remaining hidden charges and offer equal network quality

editor: REMIX NEWS
author: HVG
File - In this Feb. 3, 2017 file photo, the Eiffel Tower is lit in Paris. As of Thursday, June 15, 2017, European Union holiday makers can return home without a sense of anxiety about their mobile phone bill. The 28 EU nations should be a seamless area of roaming costs for travelers following years of negotiations to cut often excessive costs to use a mobile outside the home country. (AP Photo/Francois Mori, File)

Five years after the introduction of its free roaming directive, the European Commission has upgraded its roaming rules based on the number of complaints received since the directive came into effect.

Starting July 1, the new, improved roaming regulations will come into force in the EU. This will extend and improve the system for another 10 years, until 2032, thanks to which travelers in the EU and the European Economic Area can call, send text messages, and use their mobile data without incurring extra chargers.

An important element of the new rules is that consumers will have the right to the same quality mobile internet abroad as at home.

Mobile service companies must ensure that consumers have access to 4G or more advanced 5G networks, if available.

There is a special provision on the prevention of unexpected hidden fees. This is because when consumers travel by plane or ship, mobile phones can automatically connect to the onboard network-provided satellites. And the use of mobile connection services provided by non-terrestrial networks can result in very high surcharges.

The new roaming rules oblige service providers to protect their customers and notify them when their phones switch to a non-landline network. In addition, operators must automatically terminate mobile services when services provided over non-terrestrial networks reach €50 or some other pre-defined limit.

Providers must also ensure that consumers are informed of the types of phone numbers that may incur additional charges when consumers dial from abroad. Operators must inform consumers in automatic SMS messages sent when crossing the border to another EU country, as well as in service contracts.

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