European expats set to get cheaper mobile roaming charges

by Ray Clancy on September 13, 2013

Expats in Europe enjoy travelling easily between countries but end up facing huge charges if they use their mobile phone.

Now the European Commission has set out plans to reform the telecoms market which will mean cheaper calls with some charges reduced from next year.

The EC aims to reduce charges and simplify red tape for mobile companies in a move that it describes as the most ambitious plan in 26 years of telecoms market change.

EUcountriesThe proposals must be approved by the 28 EU members and European lawmakers before they can be put into effect but the aim is to have a ban on charging for incoming calls by July next year and to scrap all other roaming charges by 2016.

It means cheaper calls for those moving from one country to another within the EU. Mobile companies will have to either charge the same for calls across the EU or allow customers to switch providers while they are abroad without changing their SIM card.

‘Further substantial progress towards a European single market for telecoms is essential for Europe’s strategic interests and economic progress, for the telecoms sector itself and for citizens who are frustrated that they do not have full and fair access to internet and mobile services,’ said Jose Manuel Barroso, European Commission president.

But some are frustrated that it is going to take so long. ‘This is a common sense move from the EU, but the lengthy two year hiatus before roaming charges are finally killed off may dampen the celebrations,’ said Ernest Doku, telecoms expert at uSwitch.com.

He pointed out that there is limited protection from high bills for using your mobile phone in the EU right now. The firm’s research shows, for example, that roaming adds an average of £120 to a typical monthly bill.

‘Scrapping roaming charges in EU countries will better protect customers from bill shock, and the doors will be open to foreign networks looking for a piece of the market in Britain, which could mean cheaper mobile deals too,’ explained Doku.

‘But mobile networks won’t be popping the champagne corks, as scrapping roaming charges altogether will dent their bottom lines. And, because they’re unlikely to go down without a fight, we could see further delays to these changes being brought in,’ he said.

‘Even if the proposals become a reality, our concern would be that consumers may lose out if networks look to claw back the money lost through ending roaming by adding to all mobile bills,’ he added.

Expats using their mobiles in non-EU countries will still face stiff charges and these can be considerable on some countries.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

sonyjohn February 13, 2014 at 2:37 pm

My suggestion is to use an international service provider to call abroad,while roaming.You will be offered a free incoming in some sought of countries.Call charges are comparatively low now.even better firms like xxsim provides good options to call globally

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