Last year I was excited by a new add-on my fixed and mobile network operator of choice started offering: For 10 euros extra I could make calls from everywhere to everywhere in the EU, the US and Canada – fixed and mobile. Also, my monthly data bucket was extended from use in the EU to the US and Canada as well. Looks like the offer might have been a bit too successful as it has now been quietly discontinued for new customers.
I still do have the option so everything is o.k. for me for now. At some point, however, I will have to ‘evolve’ my mobile contract (e.g. more data per month) at which point the add-on is likely to go away. A bit of a shame.
Fortunately, EU roaming regulation has evolved in the meantime as well and since July 2017 ‘Roam Like Home’ is in place that lets anyone use their monthly voice and data volumes anywhere in the EU (with some restrictions). In addition, while abroad, calls to any fixed and mobile numbers in the EU are also included in the monthly voice minutes.
So the 10 euros per month extra for my roaming option now ‘only’ buys me:
- Use of my included voice minutes and data bucket use in the US and Canada.
- While at home (in Germany), voice calls to any EU country (fixed and mobile lines), the US and Canada are included.
Being in the US and Canada several times a year and regularly making calls from Germany to mobile numbers in other EU countries makes the option still worthwhile.
On the other hand, most people I call in other EU countries have their German mobile phone with them in addition to a phone with a local SIM. I can thus still call them with my included minutes and they don’t get charged for the incoming call. Even better, they can call me from their German phone when roaming and use their included minutes as well.
Still, not being able to make calls to the EU anymore will be painful once the add-on goes away. Fortunately, ‘the EU’ has now also discovered this as something that needs to be fixed. (Here’s a link in German on this) Unfortunately, it is likely that it will take years before progress is made here.
One step forward, two steps back…