The European Union extends free roaming for another ten years

The European Union has agreed to reinforce the current rules that allow residents of the European Union to use their phones without additional charges in other member countries other than their own at no additional cost (free roaming), and extend its duration. Indeed, the members of the European Union Committee on Energy, Research and Industry have voted in favor of expand current legislation, known as «roam like home» for another ten years, after a few months ago they pointed to this extension, as well as several other improvements.

In addition to this extension, several additional provisions have also been approved that guarantee consumers the same quality and speed of their mobile connections that they usually have in their country of origin. What does this mean? That with its approval it is prevented that the network of one country makes it easier for a 5G telephony user from another to use only their 4G or 3G networks, without giving them access to their 5G networks, when they are roaming.

The committee also wants to lower the wholesale limits on talk, text and data. These caps limit how much one operator can charge another for the use that one of its customers makes of a foreign network, and they are quite often the source of disagreements between operators from different parts of the region. In this regard, the committee has proposed wholesale limits of € 0.015 per minute from 2022, going down to 0.01 euros in 2025; as well as 0.003 euros per text message and one euro for each GB of data.

On these limits, the committee members have ensured that the proposals reflected the commercial realities of the roaming market and would ensure that smaller operators that are not part of one of the main continental telecommunications groups can offer free roaming service in a way more solid.

With these measures, it has also been approved that access to emergency services be provided free to travelers, without any additional cost, either by call or SMS, including the transmission of the location information of the person making the call. The operators would also have to offer information to roaming users information on the European emergency number, 112. In addition, they also want people with disabilities to be able to access emergency services without additional charges.

Likewise, an end to overloads for calls within the European Union when calling from one country to another has been proposed, which currently have a limit of 19 cents per minute. Users would only have to pay the additional costs that the providers objectively justify.

Angelika winzip, the in charge of the negotiations of the new roaming rules for mobile networks by the European Parliament, has recalled that «Roam-like-home is an unprecedented success story in Europe. It shows how we can all benefit directly from the European Single Market. We want to reduce costs even further, and improve the quality of service for all European citizens. It is an opportunity for us to add notable improvements that will benefit European citizens and companies without having disruptive effects for mobile network operators. With this regulation we are taking another important step towards a European digital single market, for an efficient, strong and successful European Union in the future«.

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