Mobile roaming charges have always been a contentious issue, with many wondering why on earth they have been charged so much to use their mobile phone abroad. The EU agree, and as of next year will be introducing a ban on these additional roaming charges within the EU. Until the ban is brought into force next year, they are enforcing a roaming cap which network providers must adhere to, bringing the cost of roaming down for many users significantly. The cap will see savings of up to 75% during this interim period according to the European Commission.
Coming in to force on Saturday, the roaming cap will see the additional charge for text messages brought down to 2p, voice calls 4p per minute and 4p per MB of data on top of the standard network pricing models. This will remain in place until June 15th 2017 when these additional charges will be abolished completely, meaning users will pay the same price in the EU as they do here in the UK.
Andrus Ansip, Vice President of the European Commission says the move was, “not only about money, this is about bringing down barriers in the Digital Single Market”.
Roaming charges have always resulted in shocking bills for some consumers, but since the advent of smartphones and our need to remain constantly connected to the world through social media, the problem has rocketed. Understandably many are pleased about these new regulations and the introduction of a cap.
Which? executive director Richard Lloyd says: “This further reduction in mobile roaming charges is good news for consumers. Millions of travellers will now be able to enjoy using their mobile abroad without the shock of a sky-high bill when they get home.”
Mobile operator, Three have slammed their competitors who will reportedly be charging the additional costs for the next 13 months. They have long been known for their competitive pricing models, especially when it comes to international roaming. They claim their customers saved hundreds of pounds last year using their feel at home service, which allowed users to surf the net and use apps such as social media platforms whilst abroad without additional cost.
They have recently embarked on a new advertising campaign which carries the strapline ‘Roaming charges have never been cool’ followed by the hashtag #notcool.
Customers on the Three network have saved a combined total of £2.7 billion since 2013 when the feel at home service was introduced.
Dave Dyson, Three’s CEO says “Roaming fees are unfair and that’s why we introduced Feel at Home,”
“This has provided our customers with peace of mind and saved them billions of pounds since launch.”
Unlike Three, many operators opposed the changes citing the effects it would have on their revenues as the primary reason.