The European Commission announced on Thursday that the European Union has extended Roam-like-at-home regulations for telecom operators until 2032.
The new roaming scheme, which will be effective from July 1, 2022, allows travelers in the EU and the EEA to make voice call, text and surf abroad without extra charges. This means they will continue to paying mobile charges in their home countries even if they visit other nations.
“With our roaming regulation we have all benefitted from Roam-like-at-home,” EU’s top official Margrethe Vestager said in a news statement.
“This is a very tangible benefit of our European Single Market. Prolonging these rules will keep inter-operator prices competitive, and allow consumers to continue enjoying free-of-charge roaming services for the next ten years.”
The new Roaming regulation sets lower wholesale charges, the cost to operators for using networks abroad to provide services to their customers when they are abroad. The wholesale caps are set at levels that ensure that operators can sustain and recover the cost of providing roaming services to consumers at domestic prices:
For data services, the new regulation sets the following wholesale caps: 2 €/GB in 2022, 1.8 €/GB in 2023, 1.55 €/GB in 2024, 1.3 €/GB in 2025, 1.1 €/GB in 2026 and 1 EUR/GB from 2027 onwards.
For voice: 0.022 €/min in 2022-2024 and 0.019 €/min from 2025 onwards.
For SMS: 0.004 €/SMS in 2022-2024 and 0.003 €/SMS from 2025 onwards.
Lower wholesale charges benefit consumers, as they should ensure that all operators are able to offer competitive roaming subscriptions in line with the ‘Roam like at home’ principle.
The new roaming rules will prompt mobile network operators to protect their consumers and notify them if their phones switch to a non-terrestrial networks. Telecom operators should automatically interrupt mobile services if the mobile services over non-terrestrial networks reach charges of €50 or another predefined limit. Operators may offer additional services, such as the possibility to opt out from roaming on planes and boats.
Operators have to make sure to provide consumers with information about the types of phone numbers that may carry additional costs when consumers dial or access them from abroad. Operators should inform consumers via automatic SMS messages sent when crossing the border to another EU country, as well as in the service contracts.