EU Roaming Fees Phase Out News

Back in September last year I waded through the legislative proposal to phase out surcharges in the EU in two steps. The first step foreseen for April 2016 is coming closer and my mobile network operator has informed me in my latest invoice of the coming changes for this and also for the next step in mid-June 2017. This makes for interesting reading as this is the first time I have seen something about this topic other than press articles and EU legislative proposals.

Phase 1 – 30. April 2016

On my invoice my operator informs me that from the end of April 2016 roaming charges will be abolished but there will be a surcharge for incoming calls (1.35 cents per minute), outgoing calls (5 cents a minute), outgoing SMS messages (2 cents a minute) and for data traffic (5 cents per MB). No surprise here.

Phase 2 – 15. June 2017

Now it is getting interesting: In the invoice I’m told that from the 15. June 2017, there will be no more surcharges. There will be a a cap, however, and any data traffic, voice calls and SMS messages beyond that cap will be priced at the rates of phase 1. Further, it is stated that the cap level is still undefined and will have to be decided by the EU. This is probably based on Article 6b (fair use policy) in the EU legislative proposal on the topic.

In other words everything depends on where that cap will be put. When reading the legislative proposal last year I noted the following which makes it clear that we’ll probably have to wait till December to find out the details and that the deliberations will be quite difficult:

“[…] [the] fair use policies must be approved by national telecom regulators. Regulators have to come up with a set of rules by 15 December 2016 when a FUP can be applied based on factors such as the imbalance of incoming and outgoing data traffic over roaming interfaces, pricing levels in different member states, traveling patterns in the EU (read – some countries have more people visiting compared to the local population than others).”

So let’s see.