The future of roaming
In 2007 the European Commission started working with regulators and operators to reduce roaming costs for customers travelling across the European Union. Since July 2014 retail prices have been capped, reducing again in 2016.
Now, using your phone when travelling in any EU country will be charged at the same price as it would in your home country.
New EU roaming regulations
Many mobile operators only operate domestically. This means that when you travel outside of your home country, your operator generally doesn't have their own infrastructure in place to handle your calls, texts or data.
Instead, they have agreements with one or more operators in the destination country to handle this traffic. These agreements have historically meant that customers pay high costs when travelling outside their home country.
The 'roam like at home' initiative means that wholesale costs are capped, providing reassurance for customers. Accordingly, mobile operators are paid fairly for use of their infrastructure and can still make reasonable profits.
Mr Andrus Ansip, Vice-President for the Digital Single Market, welcomed the agreement: "This was the last piece of the puzzle. Europeans will now be able to travel in the EU without roaming charges. We have also made sure that operators can continue competing to provide the most attractive offers to their home markets."
What does this mean for me?
Some companies, like Vodafone and Three, pre-empted the regulations and already announced that they would scrap roaming charges in Europe. Again, this all seemed like good news. But this could be seen as a clear attempt to make customers think they are getting a much better deal, when in actual fact these deals were only two months ahead of forced regulations, and only apply to new customers or contracts.
The mobile companies and their shareholders will not be pleased with falling revenues and declining profits, and will likely look for other ways to plug the gaps. Mark Newman, from ConnectivityX, believes that operators will increase other charges to compensate for losses in revenues. This could mean smaller usage allowances, higher charges for going over allowances, or greater monthly subscription costs.
This may be easier to accept for consumers, as different network operators generally have similar prices, so there won't be much to choose from between the several providers. For businesses, however, a small increase across hundreds or thousands of users could cause significant problems.
The Truphone way
Truphoneis different. We've built our network to be global from the outset. Truphone coverage extends to over 196 countries worldwide and includes all the world's major business hubs. We have a selection of plans and add-ons to match your travel patterns, so you get the best value wherever you need to go.
Because our allowances can already be used in any of the countries within your plan, there are no roaming charges. Accordingly, as we've always worked on this basis, there are no price rises necessary to maintain the status quo.
Our Truphone World plan includes calls to 100 countries, including Europe, USA, Canada, Australia, Japan, China, and Brazil. What's more, in non-EU countries, we have separate plans for users who don't travel at all, which are competitive with domestic network operators - meaning you don't foot the bill for regulatory changes.
To find out more about how we can help, visit our business mobile plans page.