The European Commission today confirmed plans to scrap carrier roaming charges on June 15, 2017. The decision will mean European mobile phone users will pay exactly the same charges in other EU countries as they do at home.
The European Commission has long been pushing for roaming charges to be annihilated, but it’s been awaiting support from the European Parliament and Council. Now that it has that, we finally have a date for the change.
When June 15, 2017 rolls around, Europeans will be able to travel to any other country within the EU and use their mobile phone for calls, texts, and even data at no extra cost. But of course, there will be some limitations.
To prevent users from buying a SIM abroad and using cheaper tariffs at home on a permanent basis, a fair usage limit will be applied. If you go over this, networks are allowed to charge a “basic fee,” Engadget reports.
In the meantime, roaming charges will be capped to prevent customers from running up huge bills while they’re away. As of next April, operators will be allowed to charge a maximum of €0.20 (approx. $0.22) per MB of data, €0.06 (approx. $0.07) per SMS, and €0.05 (approx. $0.06) per minute during calls.
Europe is also implementing stricter net neutrality rules around the same time, which will prevent Internet service providers from throttling online content and services. Paid prioritizations or “fast lanes” will also be banned.
However, service providers will be allowed to “to set aside parts of their networks for ‘specialised services of higher quality,’ such as IPTV,” Engadget reports — but that’s only if it doesn’t affect access to the rest of the Internet for other consumers.
The reason why we’ll have to wait so long for these changes is that they now have to be finalized in writing, and signed off by the European Parliament and Council. But at least we now have a date for their arrival, and we don’t have too long to wait.