On Wednesday June 16th, the Council of the EU adopted its position on the continuation and revision of the regulation on roaming on public mobile communications networks within the EU. Free roaming was implemented across the block in 2017.
Getting rid of roaming fees in 2017 was without a doubt one of the most eagerly awaited and popular decisions the EU has taken in the digital area – for that matter, in almost any area. It would be unthinkable for ‘roam like at home’ to come to an end. Today’s swift agreement on the Council’s position ensures that we can continue to stay in touch and surf on the internet when traveling in Europe without incurring extra chargesPedro Nuno Santos, Portuguese Minister for Infrastructure and Housing, President of the Council
Regulation (EU) No 531/2012, also known as the Roaming Regulation, is due to expire in June 2022. The aim of the proposal is to extend it for another ten years, while adjusting the maximum wholesale charges to ensure sustainability of the provision of retail roaming services at domestic prices, introducing new measures to increase transparency and ensuring a genuine roam-like-at-home experience in terms of quality of service and access to emergency services while roaming. As the Roaming Regulation was amended several times, the purpose of the initiative is also to recast the Regulation to improve clarity and replace the multiple amending acts it contains.
The so-called Third Roaming Regulation aims to end roaming charges while traveling within the EU. This means that EU citizens traveling within the EU can make calls, send text messages and access the internet on their mobile phones for the same price as in their own countries. It also sets out safeguards to ensure that mobile telephone operators are protected against abuses and can sustain the new roaming rules without increasing domestic prices.
This Regulation introduces a common approach to ensuring that users of public mobile communications networks, when traveling within the EU, do not pay excessive prices for EU-wide roaming services in comparison with competitive national prices. It intends to contribute to the smooth functioning of the internal market while achieving a high level of consumer protection, fostering competition and transparency in the market and offering both incentives for innovation and consumer choice.
It lays down rules to enable the separate sale of regulated roaming services from domestic mobile communications services and sets out the conditions for wholesale access to public mobile communications networks for the purpose of providing regulated roaming services.
It also lays down transitory rules on the charges that may be levied by roaming providers for the provision of regulated roaming services for voice calls and SMS messages originating and terminating within the Union and for packet switched data communication services used by roaming customers while roaming on a mobile communications network within the Union. It applies both to charges levied by network operators at wholesale level and to charges levied by roaming providers at retail level.
This Regulation also lays down rules aimed at increasing price transparency and improving the provision of information on charges to users of roaming services.