EU lowers roaming charges in time for the summer holidays

This summer, mobile phone subscribers in the European Union will enjoy even lower roaming charges as they converge on the sunny beaches of the Mediterranean, thanks to the relentless war waged by the EU on mobile carriers. Here are the maximum rates that people will pay starting 1 July 2012 when they use their cell phones outside their home country but still within the EU:

  • 29 cents per minute to make a call;
  • 8 cents per minute to receive a call;
  • 9 cents to send a text message; and
  • 70 cents per Megabyte (MB) to download data or browse the Internet whilst travelling abroad (charged per Kilobyte used).

These rates will go down even more and by 1 July 2014 (see chart below). In two years, people will pay no more than 19 cents per minute to make a call, 5 cents per minute to receive a call, 6 cents to send a text message and 20 cents per Megabyte (MB) to download data or browse the Internet whilst travelling abroad (charged per Kilobyte used).

What happens when you travel outside the EU?

After too many instances of “bill shocks”, the EU has forced the operators to warn people before they go over certain levels of data consumption. So starting the first of July 2012, people travelling outside the EU will get a warning in the form of a text message, an email or pop-up window when they are nearing 50 EUR of data downloads, or when they are about to exceed their pre-agreed level. Users will have to confirm they are content to exceed this level in order to continue with their data roaming.

EU roaming charges heading down over the next 3 years

Here is a chart published by the EU showing the maximum prices people will pay for roaming and the wholesale charges that the carriers are allowed to bill one another.

EU caps on roaming charges

wholesale mobile roaming charges in Europe

For more, see the EU’s announcement on a deal to cap roaming fees.