Yesterday the European Commission announced an end to mobile roaming charges throughout the European Union as of the 15th of June 2017, reaching an agreement on the maximum price that providers are permitted to charge each other for use of their networks (“wholesale roaming charges”).

The final barrier to the abolition of EU roaming charges has been overcome after the European Parliament, Council and Commission finalised regulations for wholesale mobile prices.

As for retail prices (prices paid by end users), from the 15th of June 2017 the cost of making calls, sending texts or accessing mobile data will be the same in any of the EU’s 28 present member states. The cost of roaming has come down more than 90 percent over the past decade following a number of interventions from the EU. Prior to the decision, consumers paid a maximum of 5 €cents per minute for voice calls; 2 €cents per SMS; and 5 €cents per MB of data as of April 2016.

As far as wholesale roaming prices are concerned, from the 15th June 2017 they will be capped as it follows:

– 3.2 €cents per minute for voice calls

– 1 €cent per SMS

Data prices will slowly be reduced over the next five years:

  • 7.7 € per GB as of the 15th June 2017;
  • 6 € per GB as of the 1st of January 2018;
  • 4.5 € per GB as of the 1st of January 2019;
  • 3.5 € per GB as of the 1st of January 2020;
  • 3 € per GB as of 1st of January 2021;
  • 2.5 € per GB as of 1st of January 2022

The agreement has been called the “last piece of the puzzle” by Andrus Ansip, the vice president of the European Commission’s Digital Single Market strategy project.

As of 15 June, Europeans will be able to travel in the EU without roaming charges,”

Ansip said.

We have also made sure that operators can continue competing to provide the most attractive offers to their home markets. Today, we deliver on our promise.”

This regulation will apply to the UK at least until it leaves the EU following the vote to leave the European Union last June.

For more information about EU Roaming Regulations see ROCCO’s recent report.